Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

Telemammography Taking Hold

Published on the Jan. 24, 2012, DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

Over the past decade, the field of mammography has become a paradox. Leading medical organizations disagree about the benefits of the study and the best age for a baseline exam, but the number of scans is rising. At the same time, the number of facilities and radiologists willing to read these studies is falling.

As of January 1, according to the American College of Radiology, there were 8,125 accredited mammography facilities nationwide, down from 9,400 in 2000. Many in the industry have turned to telemammography as the best way ensure patients still have access to screening and diagnostic scans. The number of companies offering telemammography is still small, but the group is growing.

“The potential for telemammography is huge — women over 40 will need to have their mammograms,” said Timothy Myers, MD, a reading radiologist with teleradiology company vRad. “The issue, however, is there just aren’t a lot of players. Teleradiology is just now coming to an age where it’s easy to transfer images.”

As part of its teleradiology services, vRad also offers telemammography.

The premise behind telemammography is the same as general teleradiology — a radiologist reads the studies at a location other than the clinical setting of service. Today, most telemammographers are compliant with the Mammography Quality Standards Act and are licensed in both their states of residence and practice. This strategy does have specific hardware requirements unique to mammography, however, including mega-pixel computers that provide a high degree of image clarity for both sending and receiving providers.

Although there is some disagreement between industry experts and practitioners about whether telemammography is equally as useful for screening and diagnostic mammograms, overall the strategy has received a warm — if slow — reception.

To read the remainder of the article: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/teleradiology/content/article/113619/2021608

January 24, 2012 Posted by | Healthcare | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thriving in the Era of Teleradiology

Published on DiagnosticImaging.com on Feb. 18, 2011

By Whitney L.J. Howell

When teleradiology on-call services burst onto the scene with the rise of the Internet in the late 1990s, they relieved many radiologists of night and weekend call duties. No doubt, many practices saw them as the answer to shorter-shift prayers.

But, if you mention the same companies today, you’re likely to prompt worry and fear about lost jobs and revenue in even the most established radiology offices.

In recent years — and especially in the past few months — some on-call teleradiology companies, such as the recently merged NightHawk and Virtual Radiologic, have taken what some in the industry consider to be aggressive steps to grow their clientele base, including going after hospitals and health systems that have existing relationships with smaller practices.

For many small groups, that possibility could become a reality. According to a study published in the February issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology, more than half of all radiology practices in the United States use on-call services for night and weekend coverage.

“The situation has become predatory,” said Arl Van Moore, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology teleradiology task force and president of North Carolina’s Charlotte Radiology. “There are some companies that are pursuing hospitals that have contracts with other radiology groups to see if they can come in and replace the existing provider.”

Some practices are already feeling the impact. In October 2009, Consulting Radiologists in Toledo, Ohio, lost its long-standing contract with St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center to an out-of-town, on-call company. Others, such as Radiological Associates of Sacramento, are facing a similar fate.

To read the remainder of the article: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/teleradiology/content/article/113619/1795711




February 18, 2011 Posted by | Healthcare | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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