Virtual Radiologic positions itself as a national radiology practice

August 27, 2010
Rebekah Moan

What is billed as an alliance may become the first step in a move that could position Virtual Radiologic as a national radiology group practice. The alliance will bring that company and S&D Medical into a workflow and technology partnership beginning Oct. 1.

What is billed as an alliance may become the first step in a move that could position Virtual Radiologic as a national radiology group practice. The alliance will bring that company and S&D Medical into a workflow and technology partnership beginning Oct. 1.

S&D Medical, now called New York Radiology Alliance, will maintain its autonomy and local presence but will gain the power of a national radiology practice supporting it, said Rob Kill, Virtual Radiologic (vRad) president and CEO.

“We think that together we’re going to be able to grow this throughout our area and throughout many areas of the U.S.,” said Dr. Ken Schwartz, managing partner with S&D Medical and soon-to-be medical director of New York Radiology Alliance. “We think vRad is going to enhance its national position.”

Whereas before it was a national teleradiology company, he said, it’s now going to be a large national radiology group practice.

“What the market needs is a local practice with local autonomy with the power and support of a national radiology practice they can tap into,” Kill said.

By integrating S&D Medical’s local radiologists with Virtual Radiologic’s resources, the structure will be in place to provide timely reads while also allowing the local radiologists to focus on onsite needs and procedures and tap Virtual Radiologic’s extensive subspecialist expertise, he said.

Virtual Radiologic sees this alliance as a new and innovative care delivery model, according to Kill.

“Teleradiology has been defined in a very narrow way in the past,” Kill said. “It defines most of our competitors, in that it’s remote reads for nights and weekends.”

But the market is demanding enhanced service, improved quality, and reduced cost, and that can be accomplished by this new delivery model, he said.

“This is a different delivery model, where you bring the local practice together with the power of a national practice,” he said. “We believe the synergies between those two, in terms of the way we run practice, the relationships they have locally, and the power of our national network of radiologists, will bring great value to those customers in metro New York.”

S&D Medical approached Virtual Radiologic about forming the alliance after working with them since 2008 for teleradiology service.

“We said to ourselves, if they could bring this level of efficiency, IT, and resources to our group, wouldn’t it make our group’s roles easier to accomplish? We thought this would enhance our ability to compete and expand in a fashion that we otherwise couldn’t afford,” Schwartz said.

S&D Medical needs to interact with 10 different hospitals that are not part of the same system. They need to navigate each hospital’s IT security setups and communicate with their counterparts at other hospitals. A task like that is daunting, Schwartz said.

“What would for us take a year, for vRad would take less than a week to accomplish,” he said.

For S&D Medical, the alliance with Virtual Radiologic was a strategic move, Schwartz said.

“I think in order to be active and successful in the New York metro area, we really need to strive for the best, both in terms of quality as well as efficiency. And with vRad we’re much more likely to remain in the game than without them,” he said.