Choosing a provider for teleradiology services can seem like a complicated process. But here are some of the top priorities to consider when making the selection for your medical center.
Quality of service too often gets lost in the shuffle when teleradiology companies try to undercut the competition with promises of faster or cheaper service. They’re often talking about pennies, instead of performance. Someone is worried about saving 10 cents on an x-ray exam, but they should be worried about the $2 million lawsuit that could arise from a sloppy reading. Accuracy should be the top priority when choosing your teleradiology provider, not only for the safety of patients but for the health of your urgent care. The power of social media means bad reviews, due to a misread x-ray, can really hurt a clinic’s business.
This goes along with accuracy, but assessing the reputation of a teleradiology company will help determine the quality of service they provide. Do online research to find reviews of the company, and ask for references to speak with other clients using the teleradiology provider.
Urgent care experience
Find out if they have experience working with urgent care centers. You can have a radiologist who’s really good at reading trauma from an emergency room – but they can’t diagnose a finger fracture.
It’s something that gets lost nowadays since everything is digital, but the lack of communication can lead to serious errors. The leading cause for a malpractice case is failure to communicate a positive finding, and putting it on a report does not satisfy that requirement. Teleradiologists should take responsibility to follow up if they suspect something is falling through the cracks.
Availability for consult
Teleradiology companies need to make their specialists available if there are questions about a reading. Check to see if the provider’s phone lines are staffed by a live person and if your inquiry is going to be shuffled into a “ticket” system for later follow-up. There are a variety of other tools teleradiology companies should be using— such as live chat, instant messaging and encrypted email— to enhance availability.