A recent conversation with a trauma surgeon revealed for me the power of non-DICOM enterprise imaging to improve or even save lives. The surgeon recalled how a patient arrived in the emergency department after suffering what appeared to be minor head injuries in a car accident. A response team led by this physician ran the protocoled exams, found nothing especially concerning and sent the patient home.

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.

A vision starts with a need, quickly followed by a question—how can we accomplish it? At Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York, the vision to initiate digital pathology coupled with fully integrating radiology and digital pathology images in one enterprise imaging (EI) system started seven years ago. They went live in February—the first U.S. installation of Sectra’s Digital Pathology Solution at the No. 1 orthopedic hospital in the country, 10 years running.

The patient was a 77-year old diabetic with an ulcer on her big toe. There was almost no blood flow to the foot, and she was in terrible pain. Her podiatrist had sent her to the hospital. The nurses who initially checked the foot had seen cases like this plenty of times. If the woman was lucky, the surgeon might be able to amputate the foot and save the rest of the leg below the knee.

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. 

New Technology Add-On Payments (NTAP) are a class of reimbursement that are meant to help pay for new technology that is not included in the DRG bundled payment. Specifically, NTAP recognizes that current DRG payment rates can be a barrier to adopting new technology and represents an additional payment for hospital stays that use new technology determined by CMS to provide substantial clinical improvement and where the current DRG payment would be inadequate.

“Enterprise imaging” is a term that’s bandied about in healthcare. But what does it actually mean, and is your organization getting the most bang for its buck out of this very important process?

Connecticut-based Hyperfine made waves earlier this year when it announced the arrival of what it calls the “world’s first” portable MRI scanner. Which brings about interesting questions: How does it work? Is it replacing traditional technology? And what has COVID-19 meant for mobile imaging?