The COVID-19 pandemic has been a common disruptive force globally, that also brought into the forefront many innovations and trends that elevate the quality and access to healthcare. Battling the massive shortage of radiologists in the United States over the last decade, the healthcare industry and its players recognized a tremendous opportunity for superior imaging technology that builds on radiology staff efficiency. Hiring complexities, staff burnouts, and rising patient volumes emphasized the relevance of technological backing that promises cost-cutting, higher efficiency, and positive patient outcomes. Emergence Teleradiology is a firm that specializes in diagnostic radiology to help primary healthcare providers and patients have informed conversations with timely, accurate radiology reports.
The company’s services for hospitals, imaging centers, mobile imaging companies, and radiology medical groups are created with an exclusive vision of empowering healthcare structures to not sacrifice the quality of patient care.
Earl Maes, the CEO and Medical Director of Emergence Teleradiology, has over two decades of experience involving clinical medicine, radiology, and business leadership. His knowledge and awareness about the gaps between the patients and their radiologists gave him the opportunity to build solution offerings that better the radiology experience by making it more personal, reliable, and detailed.
From a patient’s standpoint, there are always questions about their health conditions, diagnostics reports, and treatment plans. Giving radiology departments the hands-on tools to answer patient queries with accuracy is a game changer in the healthcare field. “The primary objective of Emergence Teleradiology is to always advocate for the patient and provide them with the most insightful report,” says Earl. “Sometimes this means we recommend a patient not have contrast due to poor kidney function or perhaps we recommend a different type of exam altogether to better evaluate the symptoms the patient is experiencing.”
The primary objective of Emergence Teleradiology is to always advocate for the patient and provide them with the most insightful report.
Emergence Teleradiology leverages superior technology to improve efficiency within the hospital teleradiology service. That includes state-of-the-art security, redundant offsite storage of all images, reports in secure data centers, voice recognition and battle-proven templates, as well as customer service coordinators to directly link radiologists and all the company’s imaging customers.
Typically, most radiology programs need to be quite large in order to support radiologists sub-specializing in the many different areas of radiology. Emergence Teleradiology’s nighthawk radiology services can be tailored as per the customers’ needs. They can be scaled as desired due to the automated and expandable layered features. The nighthawk radiology services include final or preliminary radiology interpretations, specialty interpretation and more. Additionally, Emergence Teleradiology also provides patient billing and image storage.
Boosting Hospitals’ Radiology Efficiencies
Hospitals that do not have enough bandwidth to conduct health exams often hire an additional radiologist which ends up impacting them financially or would have to rely on their existing radiology staff. The latter situation leads to overworked staff in the radiology departments. When hospitals collaborate with Emergence Teleradiology, they help combine ‘the volumes of three hospitals’ and use one radiologist to cover those three hospitals. This makes a significant difference to the hospitals that end up with better cost savings. In addition, Emergence Teleradiology has specialists in areas such as pediatric radiology, neuroradiology, or orthopedic radiology, which a hospital-based may not be able to provide themselves.
“I enjoy the opportunity to work with hospital radiology departments to fine-tune their existing imaging protocols,” adds Earl. “Often, something as simple as changing the imaging plane on a reconstruction can greatly increase the sensitivity for making a particular diagnosis.”
Well-Rounded Team Equals Superior Offering
Behind Emergence Teleradiology’s customer success stories is its leadership team, which ultimately oversees the quality assurance program and provides recommendations for additional continuing medical education when deficiencies are identified. The team regularly meets with the radiology directors and ER directors at the hospitals to ensure the core objectives are fulfilled. The goals can range from turnaround times for stat exams, ensuring that critical results are called to the facility and documented in the reports. Additionally, they monitor Emergence Teleradiology’s stroke protocols that have been established to help patients as quickly as possible.
Since the company’s inception, Emergence Teleradiology has spread its operations from one state to 26 states across the nation. Emergence Teleradiology proudly offers HL7 interfaces to all our customers so that the radiology reports will seamlessly be directed into the hospital’s medical records.
“Because we provide this service ourselves and do not outsource it to a third-party technology company, we are able to establish these interfaces much quicker,” explains Earl. Emergence Teleradiology also is known for providing more customizations around this to their healthcare customers.
Channeling the AI Momentum
For the road ahead, Emergence Teleradiology plans to provide more teleradiology coverage in the western states of the United States which is a relatively new market. When asked about their plans to integrate emerging technologies such as AI in radiology, Emergence Teleradiology, as a company, believes it as an efficiency driver. AI independently is not advanced enough to replace the indispensable role of a radiologist. But as a technology, it does help in adding the confidence, increasing the sensitivity, and drawing attention to findings that are often very subtle to the naked eye.
There have already been several industry-backed research and use cases involving AI deployed across medical imaging. The overarching goal has always been enabling radiologists to do more with less and speed up diagnostics exam throughput. With the demand for improved image quality, hospitals and healthcare companies look at taking a step further with better capability to organize and pull data for compliance and reporting. AI combined with the technological superiority of Emergence Teleradiology, the company has the potential to put an end to physician burnout and help offset issues with radiologist staff shortages in hospitals.
One of the significant areas where Emergence Teleradiology presently leverages AI is in detecting strokes with CT perfusion. This not only helps radiologists see the stroke, but also identify which parts of the stroke that are potentially salvageable when treated promptly.
Emergence Teleradiology plans to continue the adoption of AI-driven capabilities in its service offerings and roll out AI programs to improve radiologists’ interpretations and make the ever-challenging diagnosis more comprehensive.