Nighthawks prove less popular than fears suggest

September 8, 2008

Dispelling concerns about teleradiology encroachment, a Yale University survey has found that use of external after-hours services accounts for a small percentage of radiology practices' total interpretations.

Dispelling concerns about teleradiology encroachment, a Yale University survey has found that use of external after-hours services accounts for a small percentage of radiology practices' total interpretations.

Lead investigator Dr. Jonathan H. Sunshine and colleagues randomly selected 300 nonspecialty hospitals from the 2005 American Hospital Association directory. They obtained 115 responses from radiology chiefs, including 64 from practices that used a nighthawk service between August 2005 and June 2006. Three-fourths of practices said they receive 5% or less of their reads from offsite companies, while two-thirds said they paid as much as they collected for the service. About 40% used an overseas teleradiology company, but more than half said that the radiologists reading internationally were either all or mostly from the U.S. The survey appeared in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.