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Latest Resources

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The Advantages of Teleradiology: 7 Key Benefits

Remote radiography, or Teleradiology, has grown tremendously within many radiology practices and hospitals throughout the US. While Teleradiology has been around for over 60 years but it was not until the early 1990s that Teleradiology became an accepted part of radiology practice. In fact, Teleradiology was first used as far back as 1959 with Albert Jutras first point-to-point communication, followed in 1963 by Dr. William C. Shiel at Johns Hopkins University, who also developed a system to transmit x-ray films from one hospital to another via telephone lines. Driven by technological advances in hardware, software, and network connectivity, the Teleradiology market continues to gain popularity. According to Grand View Research data, the Teleradiology market is expected to grow at a rate of 13.9% (CAGR) to $10.9 Billion USD by 2027. What are the Advantages of Teleradiology Teleradiology offers several advantages over traditional radiology interpretation. The most obvious include cost savings, improved patient outcomes, increased efficiency, and better quality control. However, our experience reveals a wider impact that Teleradiology is having for healthcare providers in areas such as risk mitigation and peer learning. Here are 7 key benefits to consider when assessing the potential value of Teleradiology services: Teleradiology Benefit #1: Faster Diagnostics Teleradiology offers almost immediate viewing of medical imaging results. More and more hospitals are looking to improve the efficiency of their operations to enable diagnostic imaging to move at the speed of the emergency room. Using remote facilities, Radiologists can essentially telecommute and work in multiple time zones around the clock so medical facilities can deliver faster diagnostic services. Teleradiology Benefit #2: Improved Quality and Patient Outcomes Teleradiology clearly enables physicians and hospitals to deliver better care by allowing them to diagnose and treat a patient quicker and more efficiently. Remote radiology services also empower radiologists and physicians to quickly collaborate and determine the best treatment methods for their patients. Subspecialist radiologists who are not on-site and may be in another time zone can easily provide a second opinion without the need to transfer the patient. Teleradiology Benefit #3: Lower Costs Since Teleradiology eliminates the need for Radiologists to travel to the site where the patient images were captured, Radiologists can work from practically any remote location. In addition to less travel time, there are cost savings associated with not having to employ a full-time, in-house radiologist. For hospitals that need to provide diagnostic imaging across a broad range of radiology specialty areas, Teleradiology allows reads to be completed by specialists who operate seamlessly as an extension of the core radiology team. In the case of smaller clinics and hospitals, their caseloads may not warrant the hiring of full-time Radiologists. Teleradiology Benefit #4: Less Radiologist Staffing Challenges Many hospitals and medical practices experience shortfalls in their radiology staff during holiday and night shifts. But bigger challenges are on the horizon for radiology. America’s shortage of radiologists and other physician specialists could surpass 35,000 by 2034, according to a 2021 research study published by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Within the US healthcare system, a number of factors are converging, including an increasing demand for imaging studies and COVID-related burnout, which is exacerbating a global shortage of radiologists. An aging population increased Medicare enrollment, and too few radiology trainees amount to a triple threat, according to Vahid Yaghmai, MD. In an interview with the RSNA News, Dr. Yaghmai stated, “The demand for imaging is outpacing what we’re doing on the training side,” said Dr. Yaghmai, professor and chair of radiological sciences at the University of California, Irvine. “The number of radiologists in the workforce is not growing as fast as the population and the demand for imaging.” According to the World Health Organization, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years of age will be 22% by 2050, nearly double that of 2015. And imaging services for this older population will put a major strain on the radiology profession. Teleradiology Benefit #5: Improved Patient Care in Remote and Rural-Areas Rural hospitals can easily send their patient X-ray images to teleradiologists for immediate analysis and diagnosis. There are even more benefits when Teleradiology are strategically deployed to enable rural medical practices and hospitals to integrate and expand their networks with other medical facilities and hospitals. This delivers a higher standard of patient care while holding the line on costs associated with staffing, facilities, and technology. Teleradiology Benefit #6: Faster Response to Critical IT Events & Medical Emergencies While Teleradiology allows healthcare providers to deliver service levels more flexibly to patients for the expected regular coverage requirements of weekends, holidays and vacations, and after-hours services, it also provides for risk mitigation when unexpected events happen. Teleradiology services can provide critical on-demand capacity in the event of an emergency situation where the need for critical radiology diagnostics spikes. Teleradiology services also provide a valuable backup and recovery plan in the event of a system failure. We recently helped a hospital client maintain their radiology operations when their internal PACS system images became inaccessible due to a software upgrade. Another system failure that we assisted with was the result of a ransomware attack. These are becoming more important considerations in looking at the bigger picture when assessing risk and liability within a healthcare organization. Teleradiology Benefit #7: Peer Learning Educational Opportunities Peer Learning gives physicians and radiologists the ability to learn and expand their abilities within the field. Teleradiology allows to expand the scope of Peer Learning beyond the walls of the enterprise. The technology can be particularly helpful as an educational device through presentations from clinical radiologists or other knowledgeable health care experts in the field. For radiology departments striving to improve patient safety, transitioning from a peer review to a peer learning model with the enabling technologies and systems, Teleradiology also provides new avenues that use errors to create opportunities to learn best practices instead of focusing on just identifying and tracking errors. This approach better taps into key principles of human performance and the importance of individual and organizational improvement, facilitating a culture of safety. Have you implemented Teleradiology services in your radiology practice? What benefits are you seeing? We would be interested to hear your feedback and comments. If you are looking to realize the benefits of Teleradiology, contact radiologyservices@realtimemedical.com for our Teleradiology Planning Guide. #teleradiology #radiology #AI #peer learning

Ian Maynard Nadine Koff

August 16, 2022

5 min

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How to make peer learning meaningful?

How to make peer learning meaningful in a safe environment? - Dr. Karen Finlay, Hamilton Health Sciences Learn about how Dr. Karen Finlay and the team at Hamilton Health Sciences are implementing peer review to create a better-shared learning experience for radiologists to improve quality and deliver improved patient care. Watch the full interview here: https://youtu.be/z84KNSCoTTE Our website: www.realtimemedical.com

Tracy van Noort

July 28, 2022

1 min

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How can we improve efficiency and accountability in our practice?

How can we improve efficiency and accountability in our practice?  Listen to our interview with Dr. Colin Taylor https://youtu.be/YIetGhwYblk Watch the full interview here. Visit our website.

Nadine Koff

June 07, 2022

1 min

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How can I possibly work more effectively?

How can I possibly work more effectively? Watch our interview with Dr. Darren Knibutatat at Grand River & St. Mary’s General Hospital https://youtu.be/bXNqeIUuWNg Watch the full interview here. Our website: www.realtimemedical.com

Enzo Costanza

May 26, 2022

1 min

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Join RealTime Medical at SIIM 2022!

Join RealTime Medical at Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) Virtual Annual Meeting, where we will be announcing our latest advancements in how we empower radiologists to work more efficiently, improve quality and deliver better patient care. RTM operates one of Canada’s largest teleradiology networks covering over 30 hospital sites. This network is powered by the RealTime Medical AICloudSuite solution offering, delivering AI-enabled diagnostic workload balancing and first of a kind, multi-dimensional peer learning experience. The platform’s standards-based messaging enables ease of compatibility with existing HIS/RIS/PACS systems. RTM's co-founder, Dr. David Koff is a chair of SIIM’s session on advanced peer learning techniques and solutions. Visit our virtual booth via GRIP June 9-11. Access to the platform is already available! For more information about the event and to register, visit the official SIIM event website. Book your consultation today: https://realtimemedical.com/contact/

Ian Maynard

May 24, 2022

1 min

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How can we maximize our reading capacity as a group, while also driving more value from our PACS?

How can we maximize our reading capacity as a group, while also driving more value from our PACS? Watch our interview with Dr. Karen Finlay, Chief of Diagnostic Imaging, at Hamilton Health Sciences here. Watch the full interview here. Our website: www.realtimemedical.com

David Koff

May 18, 2022

1 min

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Is teleradiology right for me?

Is teleradiology right for you? Watch our interview with Dr. Colin Taylor here to learn more RealTime Medical works as an extension of your team. Learn about how Dr. Colin Taylor, Radiologist at RealTime Medical, is implementing Teleradiology services to help manage a demanding workload, hold the line on costs and deliver improved patient care. Watch the full interview here. Our website: www.realtimemedical.com

Tracy van Noort

May 17, 2022

1 min

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IMPROVING PATIENT CARE, ONE COMMUNITY AT THE TIME

The Deep River and District Hospital shared updates in the November 2021 Newsletter The Zinger. RealTime Medical’s platform now supports their radiology department. “On Tuesday, November 9, 2021, the organization transitioned our Diagnostic Imaging Radiology services to a third-party service provider, RealTime Medical (RTM) to support our X-ray and Ultrasound reading. Thank you to everyone who helped make the transition go smoothly. The turnaround time for reports has significantly improved from previous services. At times, patients are still in the Emergency Department when reports are received, which is a significant improvement and benefit to patient care! RTM provides 24-hours a day/ 7 days a week remote Radiology coverage, and a Radiologist is available 24/7. Posters with contact information for RTM have been posted on the Medical and Emergency Department nursing stations, as well as in the Physician room on medical.” Link to the original source.

Nadine Koff

May 10, 2022

1 min

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INNOVATORS BRING AI INTO IMAGING SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

Originally from CHT Magazine By Jerry Zeidenberg October 30, 2019 Two Ontario hospital organizations – encompassing six sites – will soon deploy artificial intelligence to help with continuous learning and peer review in their imaging departments. By automatically detecting the types of cases being read by radiologists at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Hamilton Health Sciences, the system will deliver the latest journal findings, as well as personal pattern recognition and error avoidance, direct to their desktops. While radiologists at all Canadian hospitals are experts in their field, with years of education and experience, our understanding of diseases and illnesses is rapidly expanding and new insights are constantly appearing. To ensure that they’re aware of the latest research and best practices, many radiologists conduct journal and web searches while they’re reading cases at the hospital, or at night, from home. “Our radiologists and physicians spend a lot of time reading and searching for literature,” said Shairoz Kherani, who until recently was Director of Diagnostic Services at HHS. (She has since moved to Halton Health Care, in nearby Oakville, Ont., where she is Director of Diagnostic Services and Laboratory.) “Finding the right information can be a daunting process. Now it will be readily available.” “There are hundreds of new findings every day,” said Ian Maynard, CEO of RealTime Medical, of Mississauga, Ont., the company that’s providing the AI-powered solution, called AICloudQA™. “Radiologists can spend two or more hours a day searching independent medical data sources,” said Maynard. “Our solution saves radiologists a significant amount of time and effort by searching multiple data sources simultaneously, relative to the case at hand. We’re like a Google search on steroids for relevant medical data, helping radiologists apply the latest findings to their patient care”. Indeed, RealTime Medical is collaborating with Google Cloud and Sightline Innovation to deliver its AI-fueled solutions. The project is also supported by the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), resulting in a collaboration between these organizations and the hospitals using the solution. Not only does the automated searching save time and contribute to better medical outcomes for patients, but it helps reduce radiologist “burnout”, a serious issue today as radiologists feel overloaded by the demands placed on them, Maynard said. St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Hamilton Health Sciences will introduce AICloudQA for peer learning and skills development across their sites by the end of this year. The hospitals will probably start with one site, or one physician group across all sites, and then steadily roll out the solution. The context-sensitive provision of journal articles and other sources of medical information is expected to be of great help to the radiologists, nuclear medicine physicians, cardiologists and other clinicians who use the system. There are 70 to 80 radiologists and medical imaging experts at Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton who will be the prime users of AICloudQA. RealTime Medical’s Ian Maynard said the importance of timely and accurate information cannot be underestimated. As they’re reading cases, radiologists want the latest literature and personal pattern recognition notifications of what to be on the lookout for. “What they don’t want our patients and their families coming back to them later, asking why they didn’t know about the latest finding from Cleveland Clinic for example,” said Maynard. Dr. Karen Finlay, radiologist and Interim Chief of Radiology at Hamilton Health Sciences, agreed that radiologists are currently taking “a lot of time for research”. “If a radiologist steps off a case for five to 10 minutes to go to Google Scholar, that can really add up over the course of a day,” she said. Additionally, for those familiar with the impact of interruptions on the efficiency of the diagnostic process, that time impact can be significantly magnified to the detriment of diagnostic efficiency, which collectively impacts system-wide efficiency. The feed from AICloudQA, by contrast, is instantaneous, meaning the radiologist doesn’t have to stop what they are doing. Notably, the RealTime Medical system also uses AI to scan the readings done by radiologists, and to provide feedback on areas where they might want to focus on or look more closely in future. “It’s like the blind-spot warning system in your car, only it’s anonymously helping you avoid possible gaps in your own reading patterns,” said Maynard. “This is very valuable,” said Kherani. “The system can do intelligent sampling and note where a radiologist may want to improve. It can even spot patterns, time of day and other conditions when they may be more vulnerable.” Dr. Finlay observed that AICloudQA will also transform the process of peer learning at Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. It will do this, in one way, by increasing the pool of radiologists participating. One of the limitations of current peer review methods is that there’s often a limited number of potential reviewers, especially when a sub-specialty is involved – such as breast or neuro-imaging. RealTime Medical’s cloud-based solution offers the potential to connect with other hospitals across the province and the country, creating a critical mass of peers with a cross-section of experiences in each sub-speciality. This will enable a level of peer learning and best practice sharing that’s simply not possible with site-based systems. Increasing the number of radiologists in the peer learning pool also helps with the issue of anonymity. With site-based solutions, it’s sometimes possible to guess the identity of the radiologist or clinician being assisted, as physicians are often familiar with the reporting styles of their peers. Like all physicians – and people in general – radiologists don’t like to be judged. By making the system more anonymous, the Real Time Medical system makes peer learning more objective, valid and hence palatable for participants. This part of what is being called a “just culture” approach, that physicians are calling for in such solutions. AICloudQA embraces the “just culture” principles that physicians want and deserve. It is not punitive, and the information is not shared. Instead, it’s sent privately to the participating radiologist or clinicians, who can use it for self-improvement. At Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, the peer-reviewing will be prospective – that is, it’s done before the results are reported to the referring physician. Of course, there are only so many cases that can be reviewed before the process becomes counter-productive. The need for continuous learning must be balanced with the extra burden that’s placed on reviewers. “The trick is to make it a rich and rewarding learning experience, but not burdensome,” said Dr. Finlay. Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton currently aim to review 2 percent of the cases, which is in keeping with other Canadian programs. Kherani noted there are other potential benefits to the AICloudQA platform. It has a workload balancing function, where it uses its intelligence to feed cases to the appropriate radiologist – based on availability and expertise. That not only offers the organization advantages with workflow and wait times, but it also benefits patients, as they obtain the most expert radiologist available. She said the system can eventually support different types of physicians involved in imaging, such as cardiologists, and not only radiologists. “It’s a multi-ology solution.” Dr. Finlay noted the system also supports critical results reporting – so that urgent findings are quickly sent to referring doctors. It can also be tweaked to include notification of unexpected findings – flagging colleagues about problems that were unanticipated, but should be addressed.

Enzo Costanza

May 05, 2022

5 min

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