Teleradiology services have become widely accepted in today’s healthcare landscape across the globe. While we have learnt “Why Teleradiology is so important for a hospital” from our previous discussion, we also have understood how hospitals and diagnostic centres can benefit from using Teleradiology services.
Here we will discuss what factors should be considered before choosing a Teleradiology partner. Cost per study shall not be the only guiding criteria. Each hospital has its unique set of challenges and requirements. Thus to ensure that the Teleradiology service provider is a perfect fit for your hospital, considerations along following four pointers should be made:
· Skilled Radiologists
Patients are yours and thus, ultimately it is the reputation of your hospital that is affected by the quality of reports. Hence credentials of the radiologists must be enquired for. Some Teleradiology companies also offer sub-speciality expertise. Thus it becomes possible to get high quality reports at a competitive price.
· 24/7 Availability
A Teleradiology provider must be able to provide you 24x7x365 coverage as per your need. Also, teleradiologists must be available for interactions with your referring physicians. Participation in patients’ case discussion is important.
· Turn Around Time
‘A stitch in time saves nine.’ The service level agreement (SLA) with your provider should clearly specify the expected turn-around-time of reports and it should meet your requirements.
· Quality Assurance and Error Rate
Another important criterion is how the service provider handles discrepancies. They must have a well-defined comprehensive Quality Assurance process. In Teleradiology, there is great need for Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI). Though there is no industry standard for an acceptable miss rate, it must be below 1%.
Apart, Seamless Workflow integration is another important factor to be kept in mind. The provider’s specialized Teleradiology software must be integrated to your hospital’s RIS and reports should be made available in RIS itself. Also, while you are making your checklist, ensure that quality of customer support is present as a major checkpoint.
Choosing a Teleradiology partner is a strategic and key decision. The ultimate measure of the success of this decision lies in how using Teleradiology has added to your quality of patient care. Therefore attention needs to be paid to multiple aspects as mentioned above.