Teleradiology – safely into the future

Teleradiology was first initialized during the first Iraq war, when CT scanners were placed on U.S. Navy ships and CT images were sent via satellite link to U.S. Army hospitals for evaluation by radiologists there. Thereafter, an allocation of the specialist medical expertise, limited in number, soon took place in the private and public coastal sectors, especially the U.S. East Coast. Resourceful owners of a major medical provider quickly contracted with Indian radiologists and others from the Asian region. Thus, while reports were written overnight abroad, they were drawn, i.e., released, in the morning by local radiologists in America, which amounted to relief from the strained staffing situation. These radiologists had a level of training not exclusively compliant with the U.S. standard and also with the European standard. However, as described, the level of medical competence dropped right at the beginning of patient management. And this put teleradiology in a double light right in the 1990s. Teleradiology has now taken hold, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. Improving training standards and rapid data transport have been the drawing cards for this new industry.

As the oldest discipline of telemedicine, teleradiology has gained considerable momentum in recent years. Digital platforms that map the complete teleradiology workflow and a fail-safe IT infrastructure with various redundancies are now standard. The rising number of patients, the steadily increasing shortage of medical specialists, and the cost-effectiveness factor are aspects of teleradiology that will help this industry to develop further and secure it a permanent place in clinical patient care.