Medical Imaging Review

In radiology, it is vital for radiologists to connect with the entire patient care team in a seamless and timely manner. Imaging providers have done this over the years through such tools as land lines, pagers, fax machines and integrating with the electronic medical record (EMR). Some radiology practices even have their own secure client portal for this very purpose.

Imaging providers are continuously filling holes in their radiologist coverage schedule. Maybe the only neuroradiologist is out sick, for example, or two-thirds of the staff all want to attend the same conference.

vRad is the world’s largest teleradiology provider, with more than 500 general and subspecialty-trained teleradiologists who read up to 20,000 exams every day. One of the primary drivers behind the company’s success is its continued investment in AI technology. What can this state-of-the-art technology do for radiologists? How can it improve patient care? These are just some of the questions vRad’s team considers on a daily basis.

When Christopher Garcia, MD, MHS, completed his post-residency fellowship in 2015, he was looking forward to kickstarting his career in radiology. As he considered the variety of job opportunities before him—joining a private practice, working at a hospital—one option made more sense than any others: reading remotely from ­­­­the comfort of his Connecticut home as a teleradiologist.  

The COVID crisis has showcased for a worldwide audience telehealth’s potential for bringing top-notch medical care wherever it’s needed. Safety-minded Americans have registered their approval by voting with their screens: The CDC reported a 154% jump in telehealth visits during the last week of March 2020 vs. the same week in 2019.

As 2020 comes to a close, radiologists find their profession at a major crossroads. AI and other game-changing technologies are rapidly evolving, government policies are forcing practices to rethink their business models, and a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic continues to cause chaos for the entire healthcare industry. 

The Portland Clinic (TPC), a physician-owned, multi-specialty group serving northwest Oregon, first opened its doors in 1921, when gas was $0.26 per gallon and silent films still ruled the box office. Nearly 100 years later, TPC has built a tight network of five clinic locations with 30 specialties and primary care teams working together to provide the full spectrum of care for patients within the Portland metropolitan area.

The job market for radiologists has never been better, with fewer medical students pursuing a career in radiology and a considerable number of physicians nearing retirement. And those trends only compound the systemic issues of an aging population and the ongoing physician shortage.

News on the public health crisis touched off by the spread of the novel coronavirus has been mostly bad. But a few bright rays have begun piercing the darkness. One is the growth of patient and provider acceptance of telemedicine. 

Medical imaging volume was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, as the old adage says, this too shall pass. But when? And what should practices being doing to prepare for the return?

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals have reported that stroke and heart attack patients are staying home instead of seeking the medical attention they need. Medical societies have warned against such actions, highlighting the importance of seeking treatment, yet the trend continues throughout the United States.

More than 4 billion people throughout the world lack access to medical imaging, according to statistics shared by the nonprofit organization RAD-AID. The teleradiologists at vRad, a MEDNAX company, decided to do something about it.