Teleradiologist: What is it and How to become one?
Telemedicine is a relatively new field of medicine that has been on the rise recently.
One of the main reasons for its popularity and high demand is the recent COVID-19 pandemic that brought the whole world to a standstill.
Going to the hospital for consultations and follow-ups was no longer possible. And since telemedicine includes these facilities and performs them over telecommunication devices like mobiles, computers, and tablets, it was the safest and the best alternative.
Telemedicine also has other advantages such as cost-effectiveness, comfortable, and time-saving, for both patients and doctors.
However, not all medical and health services can be provided online via video or audio calls.
The services that are included in telemedicine are teleconsultation, online therapy sessions, follow-ups, online diagnosis, and teleradiology.
Teleradiology refers to the transmission of medical images such as X-Rays, CT scans, Ultrasound, and MRI scans over telecommunication technologies to health workers and personnel.
This field of telemedicine allows doctors to view the medical images of their patients immediately, rather than waiting till they are printed and brought to the hospital, as oftentimes, imaging is done in a different hospital.
What is a Teleradiologist?
A teleradiologist is a medical personnel who evaluates and assesses the medical images and then makes the images along with their analysis to other doctors and specialists who may have requested the imaging.
They are responsible for helping with the diagnosis and follow-up of patients by studying the scans and providing doctors immediate access to both, the scans and their reports.
Teleradiologists and the advancement of teleradiology as a field have resulted in easier diagnosis and treatment of many patients.
Many patients, especially those from rural areas, may have to visit a hospital far away from their area to get scans but their primary care physicians may be working in a different hospital closer to them.
Teleradiologists save the patients and the doctors time by sending the images immediately, without the need for the patient to visit the hospital for results.
How to become a teleradiologist?
Becoming a teleradiologist requires the same steps as being a radiologist. First, you need to complete your bachelor’s degree, then go to medical school to get your ‘Doctor of Medicine’ or MD qualifications.
After that, you will need to go into residency to become a radiologist. And depending on your preferences, if you choose to subspecialize, you can then go into subspecialty and get into some fellowship programs.
After you have completed your education and training, you can begin to work as a radiologist or teleradiologist.
To be a teleradiologist, you should be able to use technology comfortably and have a basic understanding of the software and programs you may need to use.
You will have the option of starting your teleradiology practice or working with other teleradiologists in a hospital.
Advantages of being a teleradiologist
Being a teleradiologist has its fair share of pros and cons, with some of the most notable pros or advantages being:
Flexible working hours: As your work will be done via the internet, there is flexibility when it comes to choosing your work hours.
You can choose to start work late and end late or start early and end your day early but this cannot be done when you are working, in-person in a hospital, as a radiologist with traditional working hours.
Moreover, this flexibility benefits the patients who may need sudden imaging with immediate analysis, that they may not be able to receive in a hospital with set working hours.
Freedom in life: Working online means you do not have to worry about commuting to the hospital or health center regularly.
You can choose to live in a neighborhood of your choice, without having to worry about the distance from your workplace as you will no need to go in every day.
Subspecialization: Hospitals will often hire general radiologists rather than those with sub-specialization which is why many radiologists prefer not to go through subspeciality.
However, teleradiology clinics prefer to hire teleradiologists with subspecialization as this allows them to provide specific services to their patients.
Disadvantages of being a teleradiologist
The cons of being a teleradiologist are the same as the pros, but it just depends on how you choose to look at them.
Flexibility: A flexible schedule is often misconstrued to involve fewer working hours but that is not the case with teleradiology.
As you set your hours and are available via the internet, hence, easily, doctors and patients may contact you at any time of the day, even outside of your working hours.
Technology: A small glitch in the computer or software or internet could bring your services to a halt.
Moreover, this technology can be expensive and it will be the first thing hospitals and health centers may cut back on in case of financial difficulties.