Sunday, March 4, 2012

ECR 2012 - SF12 - Radiology on the road: working when you are away from home

In the session entitled 'Radiology on the road: working when you are away from home' after the introduction of the chairman (dr. Donoso from Spain), three presenters shared their thoughts on this issue.

First up was dr. Ranschaert on 'Teleradiology in 2012: growing or shrinking in importance'. In a European survey it was shown that 35% of the respondents used teleradiology for outsourcing of which 65% was sent to commercial reading companies. It was clear that teleradiology is already frequently used although there still remain a lot of issues concerning practical and legal issues. Regulation and reimbursements are often mentioned as being important issues still to solve. Main reasons for Teleradiology are:

  • shortage of radiologists

  • need for oncall readings

  • need for subspecialty advise

Also opportinities for further growth are identified.

Driving factors of Teleradiology are:
  • Demand for Tele Radiology

  • Infrastructure

  • Political climate

  • Cost of healthcare

  • Acceptance by radiological communitee

Key issues to be solved for even more widespread introduction and growth of Tele Radiology are quality assurance, privacy and security, standards (IHE), legal, financial, language.
Transition to mobile radiology is regarded to be the main future development in Tele Radiology. Dr. Ranschaert stated that a paradigm shift is required with a more patient centered radiology where patients are managers of their own data with new services for patients using websites and apps.

Next dr. Ratib presented on 'Use of PDAs and other hand held devices in radiology: beyond the head?' to demonstrate his point dr. Ratib presented using his iPad. Tablet are changing the way we do things and penetrate our world through the consumer market. Also in the medical field the use of tablets has shown a rapid adoption. Webbased extensions of the current systems can already be used on mobile devices and are available from many vendors. Furthermore, low cost apps are becoming available. The quality of the images still has to be proven but is increasing in resolution rapidly. One of the main area where the disruptive technology is gaining interest is the use of tablets in the OR for direct imaging. Another application area is to have an app companion to a textbook with more interactive material.

Finally, dr. Fitzgerald presented on 'Legal issue of teleradiology and portable reporting'. He stated explicitly that (medical) regulation is a barier of defense against the 'bad'. However regulation is going slowly and has problems to keep up with the novel possibilities in healthcare such as Tele Radiology. Directives and legislation is being developed to address issues of cross border wokring including Tele Radiology.
He summarized three critical issues when starting to use mobile devices:

  • Don't let standards slip

  • Documentation

  • Patient confidentiality

For Teleradiology these are:

  • Check indemnity cover

  • Don't let standards slip

  • Less tolerance from strangers

  • Fatigue

  • PACS audit trail

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