M Michela Radiology Today
June 03, 2019

Radiology Today: Casting a Wider Net

This is an excerpt from an article by Beth W. Orenstein, published in Radiology Today June 3, 2019.

Teleradiology has become much more than filling in coverage gaps.

Broader Engagement
Life Image, a global network for sharing clinical and imaging data, recently announced a strategic partnership with swyMed, a provider of mobile technology solutions, to improve the ability of physicians to collaborate and coordinate care during a telemedicine encounter for stroke patients. lifeIMAGE currently supports more than 140 stroke centers within its US network. The partnership means care teams at trauma and stroke centers will have access to all relevant medical records, diagnostic imaging, and other critical clinical data before the patient arrives at their door, says Matthew Michela, president and CEO of lifeIMAGE. “It’s really upped the value of telestroke care,” he says.

Stroke diagnosis and treatment is highly time sensitive and requires a specialist. “This new strategic partnership addresses the data access and specialist shortage issues by offering immediate connectivity, even in the most bandwidth-challenged areas, to stroke specialists across the US,” Michela says.

Almost every day, a glance at the headlines seems to report a hospital closing or being swallowed by a larger health system in rural America. “There’s no question that’s going on within the larger health systems, academic institutions, and even amongst radiology practices,” Werb says. The closings and consolidations can leave rural areas without much-needed care. Many see teleradiology as the answer to this growing dilemma. “It is one way to address challenges in the rural market,” Werb says. “You want to support the people who are left in the rural communities because they need the same access to health care that larger urban centers can provide.”

This is a challenge for every specialty, not just radiology, Werb says, but radiology may be leading the way with its teleradiology services. Radiology has long been a leader and early adopter of telemedicine technology. “I expect that, in the future, we will continue to disrupt ourselves in a way that allows us to provide much better and highly differentiated services to our patients. Teleradiology, the act of reading remotely, will become more and more prevalent in how services are offered, even in large urban locations. This is less about finding the lowest cost and more about providing the best possible services. Radiology departments and large practices are all beginning to think this way,” Werb says. “If I provide services across a large geographic area, then I want to be sure that the services I deliver are consistent, and teleradiology can enable that.”

Kaplan agrees. “Teleradiology is going to be what enables our US health care system to engage and care for people in markets not only around the world but also domestically that have traditionally been underserved,” he says.

“Not only has teleradiology been used from the very beginning in rural areas to assist in delivering top-quality radiology care to small communities, but it will also evolve to provide more personal and integrated care to these hospitals as final reports become standard and as teleradiology delivers more specialized care to these rural sites around the clock,” Shah says.

— Beth W. Orenstein of Northampton, Pennsylvania, is a regular contributor to Radiology Today.


Access the original article here.