Although no reasonable person wants to put a price tag on human life, the fact is that cost is the major issue surrounding health care in the U.S. today. While most of this is due to the privatized, profit-driven nature of the U.S. system of health care, part of it is in fact a function of supply and demand, particularly as the number of patients requiring medical services increase and the more and more medical school graduates, burdened with half a million dollars in student loan debt choose high-paying specialties over primary care.
Teleradiology is made possible by today’s Internet technologies, and promises to reduce costs by making better use of resources.
What Is Teleradiology?
Simply defined, teleradiology is the transmission of medical images over the World Wide Web and Local Area Networks. This allows for consultation with qualified radiologists in remote locations, allowing them to provide services without having to be on-site with the patient. It is also vital for hospitals and clinics in smaller, under-served communities who need the services of rare specialists such as neuropathology, pediatric medicine and osteology during off-hours, making it an excellent tool for telemammography.
How It Works
In the early days, teleradiology was quite limited, depending on telephone lines for transmission. With the event of high-speed Internet service and fiber-optic cable, hundreds of large images can be sent virtually instantaneously. Image-compression software make this even more efficient, while new security technologies such as voice-recognition and 128-bit encryption insures that such images are delivered only to those medical professionals authorized to receive and view them.
VRN – The Next Generation
The Virtual Radiology Network facilitates teleradiology services by collecting digital imaging studies from all over the World Wide Web and delivering them to the appropriate specialists. This is of great help to radiologists in managing workflow, providing these professionals with a variety of Web and network-based management tools.