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Teleradiology – Scripting growth during Uncertainty

Teleradiology – Scripting growth during Uncertainty

 

The year 2020 is one which everyone would like to forget or writeoff, nevertheless the challenges it created also brought about innovation and adoption of technologies at an unprecedented levels. The economic fallout from the pandemic has been massive and will definitely be lasting. The pace and extent of disruptive change brought about by the crisis would not have been imaginable just six months ago.

 

Since the pandemic erupted, many industries underwent changes and healthcare was no different. Healthcare systems have implemented, almost overnight, many transformational initiatives that had been in the planning stages for months or years. Telehealth, digital apps, and other remote or virtual care resources have gained a great deal of attention ever since the novel coronavirus has hit us and represent indispensable capabilities as we advance.

 

Teleradiology lends itself very well with the whole digital disruption and the work- from home imperative in such difficult times. It is as if teleradiology was designed for such times. While technology adoption and innovation definitely scripted growth and continuation of businesses everything was not hunky dory even in the evergreen healthcare sector. Hospitals and Diagnostic chains across the globe which rely on walk-ins, elective procedures and general health screening programs as part of their business were financially impacted due to reduction from these streams.

Healthcare systems having large infrastructure, manpower base and high cost of operations saw there business impacted overnight and had to take drastic steps to control costs and survive and some even had  to resort to financial bankruptcy as seen across in the US. Even large teleradiology providers having similar high cost structures were impacted severely and some even folded their business and filed for bankruptcy like Aris Teleradiology, Envision and some  like vRAD (Mednax)  was eventually soldout to RadPartners.

Managing challenges and bounce back

It was quite evident that large operations and its associated costs and overheads suddenly became a liability and was making businesses unsustainable. The business opportunity in Remote radiology services was shrinking in the short term, but the demonstrated technology and delivery model had a lasting promise and would be indispensable in the coming years. Companies which would be able to withstand and ride this environment would come out strongly both financially and in their ability to grow.

The major challenge was of plummeting volumes, both in emergency care, as well as elective surgical work, thereby reducing all associated emergency and elective procedures, including radiology. Teleradiology solutions  (TRS) was one such company which had to navigate these changes, by being operationally savvy. The company having a better understanding and a hold on their entire operations have been able to showcase and sustain throughout the months of the pandemic. So, a strategic approach is the need of the hour to ensure sustenance, recovery and take us through the challenges of the pandemic. Managing the top cost drivers  becomes the imperative along with a cohesive proactive HR approach.

The radiology market as a business had seen a 50% drop from pre-COVID volumes across the radiology services. TRS ably navigated through these situations and continues to provide services, to all our existing clients across the globe. Teleradiology Solutions’ unique ability to control its costs in sync with its business volume was one of the pivot which ensured that TRS was able  to withstand and add business even during these times with its operations in low cost country and clinical costs kept variable.

Thus, the pandemic has also created a significant opportunity even in a post –epidemic world for companies working in technology space. Organizations started looking at, application of the existing and new tools,  and ways to distribute it, and that is where businesses which were decisive in distributive healthcare became an essential aspect with a  cloud-based digital presence.

 

The prominence of Distributed Healthcare system

The world is changing at a fast pace, and distributed healthcare technology is helping cut cost and time, enhancing efficiencies. Decommissioning of legacy systems, infrastructure and a significant reduction in overall cost savings makes Teleradiology the ‘Uber’ of subspecialty radiologists.

Teleradiology as a service certainly opens doors for being able to access the highest grade radiologist without having him onsite bearing a full cost. So, a hospital or radiology centre in a remote part of the country can provide MRI scan feasibility without worrying about the 24/7 requirement of an MRI trained radiologist on site. As such, the financial viability of these centers can also become much better. If one adds up the cost of a radiologist and the machine, it may become financially unviable in tier-2/3 cities. The most significant advantage for the center is the access to a reputed quality radiologist or a subspecialty trained radiologists through teleservices.

Diagnostic centers can be made operational during  late hours  thereby providing emergency services.. Teleradiology can help these centers to extend their business hours and generate additional revenue.

The standard of care improves as the reach of the radiology services improves. Economics on Hospital side also become much better because of their ability to provide radiology support 24/7, even if there is no onsite radiologist.

Healthcare Architecture: “Healthcare within arm’s length of need” Enabled by advent of mobile platforms and IOT devices the entire healthcare economic architecture needs a complete reset post COVID. All the stakeholders need to come together to create a partnership based on technology, care and trust. New ways to increase adoption and implementation of technology in healthcare needs to be evolved quickly.

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