Often great ideas in healthcare do not succeed due to the lack of viability in the market in which they are presented. In our daily conversations with physicians and practice managers we hear that the primary reason for entering a remote reading program is to extend services to new clients or existing that otherwise might not be served by a limited staff of radiologists faced with the decision of how and where to use their time to the greatest return. The idea of being virtual without compromise of clinical quality is appealing and afforded by remote reading through today's technologies.
The second most popular reason is the declining reimbursement climate causing radiologists to use their time more effectively to deliver clinical services rather than losing time to transit or administrative matters better left to electronic means and clerical staff.
If you are working and servicing a market experiencing these changes not only is it better served by a remote reading program it is prime to accept the concept. This need not be a large urban environment and highly competitive. Rural markets with varied dynamics can present a perfect opportunity to embrace the concept. In the end, the mechanical means of delivering service is greatly out weighted by the time proven convention of professional rapport and quality of service.
Payers continue to demand more for less. Quality seems to be a given among providers with price driving service agreements. Extended requirements attendant to the agreement such as on call services, bundling of charges and higher discount rates for increasing volumes of patients are common today. The ability to obtain and maintain these contracts is achieved by the virtual remote reading concept. Services provided by international reading businesses suggest that whether across the street or around the world if quality service is provided location does not matter.
Recently one of the key weighing points in awarding contracts is remote reading service. Payers would like to gain and retain insured lives by offering the highest level of professional services to the insured regardless of the diversity of location. This is afforded by remote reading without concern for where the front-end diagnostic technology is located to obtain the examination. In a national third party reimbursement climate where an insured life changes health plans every 24 months marketing of "best services" is key to retention following coverage plan cost.
Often, a practice may see such a concept as to progressive and perhaps impersonal for the area and client base they serve. Support of a plan to begin remote services may be challenging to obtain. Perhaps the most significant argument to present in these surroundings is increased or maintained revenues, higher per radiologist output, at sustained quality of care. This service is intended to facilitate service, not to decrease or compromise quality.