In radiology, one of the biggest problems that a client hospital or a referring clinician encounter is the revolving door of new names of radiologists with each report. It is easy for a referring clinicians to become discouraged when they are bombarded with a long list of radiologists reporting their cases. And if on top of that the phone call is being answered or routed to someone else other than reporting radiologist, it is surely going to be a deterring factor for trust-building between the teleradiology provider and the client hospital or diagnostic center.
Why is there a revolving door of new radiologists with each report?
The size of the teleradiologist’s panel is an important criterion for searching for the right match for your organization. The optimum size of the panel to cover all 24 hours is important, at the same time stability of the teleradiologists with constant names is key to develop trust for a long-term relationship with the referring clinician. Hiring a large panel of teleradiologists for a small hospital doesn’t make sense always. Generally, large panel radiologists have a high turnover rate. Continuously changing the names of the radiologists will hamper the trust-building between the referring surgeon and the teleradiologists.
Besides panel size turnover rate of radiologists may indicate the stability of the group. Large panel teleradiology providers in India generally comprise multiple part-time radiologists who otherwise are doing ultrasound practice at their clinics. Such groups may lack a teleradiology culture. Imagine a CT abdomen scan for a suspected case of bowel perforation being read by a sonologist within his time slot provided by the telerad provider who is looking for gas under the diaphragm on the scanogram.
In contrary to an experienced teleradiologist who is reporting hundreds of CT scans a day sitting for hours in his office who is trained to look for even a tiny extraluminal air.
In India, radiology practice is largely modality driven ( X-ray, ultrasonography, CT scan, MRI, nuclear imaging, etc are the main modalities ) Roughly 60% of Indian radiologists practice only ultrasound, 30% do ultrasonography plus CT, MRI (CT MRI are also called cross-section imaging) and only 10 % practice dedicated cross-section. And out of this 10% just 2 to 4% may be doing full-time teleradiology.
Teleradiology in India means cross-section, so for all practical purposes, the available pool of radiologists is just 40% out of which expert general radiologists ( if we say ) are just 10%.
So today if we come to the core domain only 10% of the radiologist’s pool in India belongs to the core domain of full-time teleradiologists or cross-section general radiology experts. These 10% radiologists are again engaged in different institutes as in-house radiologists.
What happens after the covid pandemic? The entrepreneurs start teleradiology companies and without trying to understand the above classification they start employing every possible radiologist available without bothering about his core domain. They start allotting time slots to every radiologist who is interested irrespective of his core domain expertise and form large teleradiology groups or panels. (Just a software is installed on radiologists PC and reporting the cases is started) This obviously gives rise to an issue called Revolving Doors Of Changing Names Of Radiologists.
Needless to say, such teleradiology providers are running their show ‘without any Teleradiology Culture.’
How To Overcome The Issue Of revolving Door Of Changing Names in Teleradiology?
At Radever we are the complete team of only full-time teleradiologists. Because an experienced full-time radiologist can easily report double or even triple the number of cases a part-time (all modality) radiologist can do in a given time, a full-time teleradiologist is equal to 3 part-time radiologists, thus answering the issue of Revolving Doors Of Changing Names Of Radiologists.
At Radever, we make it a point to maintain the optimal balance between the workload and the number of available radiologists. Each client will have one radiologist as a team leader who will handle all queries and be in touch with clinicians and other team radiologists.
We maintain a uniform reporting pattern and uniform viewing protocols across all anatomical systems to ensure ‘consistent reading methods and homogeneous reports’ which helps in easy comprehension of reports and clinicians’ trust-building.
At Radever we make it a point to ‘communicate each and every report to the referring clinician via a Text message. We have recently started the RAI (‘Relevant Annotated Images’ ) service wherein we select the most relevant images for a given diagnosis, mark the image, annotate it and email it to referring surgeon or physician. *The RAI service can prove to be of great value in providing spatial orientation to the surgeons, effective communication of the diagnosis, and creating relevant data for selective retrieval and future research in deep learning. This RAI service at Radever Teleradiology is gaining us high clinician satisfaction.
During our 12 years of practice at Radever Teleradiology, we have not only observed a constant rise in demand for better and specialized interpretations but also referring clinicians’ expectations from teleradiologists. Patients and clinicians deserve the best radiology interpretation irrespective of their geographical location, where the test is performed, or when (the time of day or night) it is performed. Being prompt, precise, and persistent are the three Ps critical to developing a strong teleradiology culture which in turn is directly proportional to the referring clinician’s satisfaction and trust-building.