Purpose: To explore the current state of teleradiology practice, defined as the interpretation of imaging examinations at a different facility from where the examination was performed. Methods: A national survey addressing radiologists’ habits, attitudes, and perceptions regarding teleradiology was distributed by e-mail to a random sample of ACR members in early 2019. Results: Among 731 of 936 respondents who indicated a non-teleradiologist primary work setting, 85.6% reported performing teleradiology within the past 10 years and 25.4% reported that teleradiology represents a majority of their annual imaging volumes; 84.4% performed teleradiology for internal examinations and 45.7% for external examinations; 46.2% performed teleradiology for rural areas and 37.2% for critical access hospitals; 91.3% performed teleradiology during weekday normal business hours and 44.5% to 79.6% over evening, overnight, and weekend hours. In all, 76.9% to 86.2% perceived value from teleradiology for geographic, after-hours, and multispecialty coverage, as well as reduced interpretation turnaround times. The most common challenges for teleradiology were electronic health record access (62.8%), quality assurance (53.8%), and technologist proximity (48.4%). The strategy most commonly considered useful for improving teleradiology was technical interpretation standards (33.3%). Radiologists in smaller practices were less likely to perform teleradiology or performed teleradiology for lower fractions of work, were less likely to experience coverage advantages of teleradiology, and reported larger implementation challenges, particularly relating to electronic health records and prior examination access. Conclusion: Despite historic concerns, teleradiology is widespread throughout modern radiology practice, helping practices achieve geographic, after-hours, and multispecialty coverage; reducing turnaround times; and expanding underserved access. Nonetheless, quality assurance of offsite examinations remains necessary. IT integration solutions could help smaller practices achieve teleradiology's benefits.
- Digital imaging
- radiology practice
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging