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 pandemic that brought the 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 is the safest and the best alternative.
Telemedicine also has other advantages, such as cost-effectiveness, comfort, 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 transmitting medical images such as X-rays, CT scans, Ultrasound, and MRI scans to health workers and personnel over telecommunication technologies.
This field of telemedicine allows doctors to view the medical images of their patients immediately, rather than waiting until they are printed and brought to the hospital, as imaging is often done in a different hospital.
What is a Teleradiologist
A teleradiologist is a medical professional who evaluates and assesses medical images and then makes the images, along with their analysis, available 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. Still, their primary care physicians may work in a different hospital closer to them.
Teleradiologists save the patients and the doctor’s time by sending the images immediately, without the patient needing to visit the hospital for results.
How to Become a Teleradiologist
Becoming a teleradiologist requires the same steps as being a radiologist. First, you must complete your bachelor’s degree, then go to medical school to get your ‘Doctor of Medicine’ or MD qualifications.
After that, you must go into residency to become a radiologist. 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 understand 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 choosing your work hours.
You can choose to start work late or start early and end your day early but this cannot be done when you are 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 regularly to the hospital or health center.
You can live in a neighborhood of your choice without worrying about the distance from your workplace, as you will not need to go in every day.
Subspecialization: Hospitals will often hire general radiologists rather than those with subspecialization, so many radiologists prefer not to go through subspecialization.
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, software, or internet could bring your services to a halt.
Moreover, this technology can be expensive and will be the first thing hospitals and health centers may cut back on in case of financial difficulties.