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X-ray is considered a defining feature of urgent care, and as an alternative to the emergency department, many clinics offer other radiology services as well. However, for a service that is foundational to business, it can be expensive to maintain. The data reported in this issue of the Urgent Care Quarterly suggests that less than 11 percent of all urgent care visits included a radiology code in the year recorded. Which begs the question: is it more profitable to hire a radiologist or use a teleradiology overread service?

Should you hire a licensed radiologist?

If you’re doing a lot of x-rays at your clinic(s), it may be wise to consider a full-time radiologist. The ability to keep this person busy may affect how easily you can hire someone — many clinics want RTs to spend gap time in medical assisting. Aside from that making for an expensive MA, radiologists don’t want to do that work.

Here are a few starting questions to answer when considering whether to hire a radiologist:

  • Does the quantity of x-rays done at your clinic justify the need for a full-time radiologist?
  • If your clinic is part of a chain, are there enough visits across clinics to make hiring a full-time specialist cost effective?
  • Will one radiologist be readily available to handle reads for multiple clinics?
  • Who do you rely on for consultations and second opinions?

The best solution for many urgent care clinics is working with a reputable provider of teleradiology services for so many reasons, like our top six listed here.

Why teleradiology overread services may better fit your clinic

No matter what healthcare niche you serve, fast, accurate x-ray overread results mean you can confidently move quickly to provide appropriate care — and you get higher satisfaction scores and a stellar reputation. Here are six ways that a teleradiology service can further improve your business.

01. Lower cost

When you work with an expert team of contracted radiologists, there is no need to pay the salary and benefits for a full-time radiologist and no training is required. Your contracted teleradiology services provider that is always available is like having a full-time expert on your staff who is always available, never takes sick days or vacations, and already has the training needed to respond quickly and with authority to your needs.

“Our revenue is better because the turnaround time is better, no patient complaints about getting a bill from another company or issues due to price gouging. Everything is very transparent.” – Tonya Trice, EVP of Operations, Safeworks Illinois

02. Improves medical decision-making

When patients present with an injury or conditions that require a radiology procedure, clinicians need radiology reads right away to determine the most appropriate treatment. The confidence of knowing that a licensed radiologist with relevant experience is reading a patients’ x-rays on their schedule helps clinicians move forward with the right treatment quickly.

“The tech is amazing. We can send over for an injury, a stat read, and have it back in about two minutes. Our provider doesn’t have to wait and it doesn’t hold up the paperwork. For a regular read, sometimes we have those back in 5-10 minutes. It makes it a lot easier on our end to get results back that fast.” – Karri Weidenburner, Radiology Tech, Safeworks Illinois

03. Fast results

Because teleradiology services providers have plenty of experts available all the time, you don’t have to wait — or make a patient wait — on a busy, on-call, or off-site radiologist for answers. Good teleradiology services providers provide a quick turnaround time because they work with a large pool of radiologists from coast to coast. They send all reports securely, quickly, electronically, and are easy to reach when you have follow-up questions or need more information. You get answers; patients get treatment; and everyone is happier.

“We moved our business from another teleradiology company four years ago to improve turnaround time, quality, and integration and we couldn’t be more pleased. In most cases we have the radiology reading before our patients are discharged and the integration with our EMR has been seamless.” – Todd Martin. Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Emergency One

04. Improved consultations

Every clinician needs another opinion sometimes. Urgent care clinics that have a contract with a teleradiology service company can have an expert on the line in minutes to collaborate and land on the best treatment method for a patient without having to call in another practitioner or colleague that’s not on site.

“With Experity Teleradiology, our discrepancy rates have dropped dramatically, and when our providers need information they don’t see on a report, they are super-responsive and approachable. I would highly recommend them.” – Todd Martin. Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Emergency One

05. Improved patient satisfaction

As healthcare consumers, patients increasingly expect better service from their care providers. Contracting with the right teleradiology services company can help meet these expectations by allowing clinics to quickly diagnose conditions and start treatment, simplify the patient experience, and consolidate billing so patients don’t receive multiple statements after an urgent care visit with a radiology code. It’s simpler for patients, which is why they opted of urgent care in the first place. When clinics provide great service and expert care, they lay the foundation for lifetime relationships with their patients. Improved satisfaction means more referrals—and more business for your clinic.

“Our clinic has changed as a result of [Experity’s teleradiology.] Better patient care because it’s more efficient. Our patients are not having to wait as long for their results. Sometimes they’re getting results before they leave the room” – Karri Weidenburner, Radiology Tech, Safeworks Illinois

06. Reduced professional liability

An overread by a consulting radiologist can reduce professional liability for the urgent care provider, who sees such a wide variety of injuries and symptoms that require a radiology procedure. Many centers choose to send all images for overread to protect themselves and their business. No matter what the volume, urgent care clinics should identify and contract with a teleradiology services company (like Experity Teleradiology) as a go-to overread resource to call on as needed. These services add value to and serve as an extension your urgent care business. And with the right partner, you can improve your radiology reputation and leave a lasting — positive — impression.

“There are a lot of efficiencies gained by making the switch to [Experity’s] teleradiology services. The whole program has made our lives easier. “- Tonya Trice, EVP of Operations, Safeworks Illinois

The future of teleradiology and AI

It’s important to note, too, that as we progress, AI will make teleradiology overreads even more of a no-brainer for some clinics. In preliminary tests, Experity found that our overreads were completed 10-15 percent faster with AI with an improved quality around 40 percent. This innovation also helps reduce fatigue that radiologists experience when doing overreads all day. Ultimately, technology is moving quickly, and clinics who do not leverage AI in overreads will become obsolete.

Is Experity the right service for you?

More than 3,500 urgent care centers across the U.S. count on Experity’s two-hour standard overreads and STAT reads in one hour or less. Our board-certified radiologists maintain a 99.97 percent accuracy rate. In addition, we own our PACS, which has allowed us to add efficiencies, streamline workflow, and improve the end-user experience. This translates to the highest-quality reads and fastest turnaround times, far surpassing industry standards.

Plus, we have the ability to transmit results directly to your EMR, improving clinic administration workflow.

Learn more about Experity’s teleradiology services and request a free quote by clicking the button below.

Explore Teleradiology


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