Teleradiology firms offer workflow technologies, resources

November 30, 2006

Two major providers of teleradiology services, NightHawk and Virtual Radiologic, offered to sell the secrets of their success at the RSNA meeting this week. The companies unveiled on the exhibit floor productivity tools and resources developed for in-house use and made them available for sale to other providers.

Two major providers of teleradiology services, NightHawk and Virtual Radiologic, offered to sell the secrets of their success at the RSNA meeting this week. The companies unveiled on the exhibit floor productivity tools and resources developed for in-house use and made them available for sale to other providers.

NightHawk introduced Talon, a version of the workflow engine the company uses to create, update, and route work lists and images to radiologists. Virtual Radiologic introduced its Infrastructure Solutions suite, composed of the workflow technology and business operations support it uses daily to run its own teleradiology practice.

With each comes access to the company's services, which are built around productivity tools accompanied by the personnel, including IT support, that make them work well. Talon prioritizes studies and assigns them to radiologists for reading, keeping track of their status, which can be followed by hospital staff from the rad tech to the ER team. This keeps everyone in the loop, cuts out wasted time, and makes sure the most important studies get done first. Virtual Radiologic's Infrastructure Solutions is designed for much the same purpose.

The two companies expect these tools will boost revenues not only from their sales but from the use of services that may follow. Increased efficiency may lead some teleradiology companies to seek new clients, which in the near term might outstrip their own capacity. While they staff up, they might ask for help from the resource provider. They might also look for NightHawk or Virtual Radiologic to cover temporary shortfalls in coverage due to staff vacations or illness.

It would be easy to do. Subscribers' teleradiology operations are to be tied into the in-house resources of NightHawk or Virtual Radiologic. It would be a relatively simple step for either firm to provide its own teleradiologists to handle ones their clients cannot on an ad hoc, short- or even long-term basis. Both companies, in fact, expect exactly that to happen.