Five ‘Outside the Box’ Questions to Ask When Searching for a Teleradiology Partner

Finding and implementing a new teleradiology partner can be a daunting task.  Often, it can be a painful experience with the wrong provider.  Not sure which questions to ask when doing your due diligence?  In this post we are going to cover a few key ‘outside the box’ questions to ask when searching for a new partner (which we certainly hope is us).

Question 1:  What are your historical turnaround times (TAT)? 

This is one of the most important questions you can ask any teleradiology provider, as it is one of the most important performance metrics in the industry.  A broad scope definition (as this is defined differently in nearly every teleradiology provider’s contract) is that the TAT is how long it takes for the teleradiology provider to read a study and provide the results back to you.  Asking for historical TAT data, usually in the form of a rolling 12 months’ worth of averages, is typically readily available.  This will show you any issues that arose companywide and will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.  Often providers will only give you a one-month average and it will likely be their best month.  It is probably not the most recent month either.  We here at Real Radiology are more than happy to share historical data with you.  In fact, it’s right in our initial proposal for teleradiology services.

Question 2:  How will we be supported by you as our teleradiology provider during our coverage window?

Knowing how you will be supported is crucial in deciding which teleradiology provider to choose.  This answer should be multifaceted, and if it is not, that provider may not be a good fit for you.  Real Radiology is a 24/7/365 teleradiology company and our support is 24/7/365 as well.  Our Information Technology team is available 24/7/365 to handle all issues that may arise during your coverage window.  Our Customer Support team is available 24/7/365 as well.  Real Radiology is one of the few teleradiology providers in the market that has experienced technologists on its Customer Support team to handle any issues that arise.  Real Radiology does not believe in phone trees either, so if your team needed to speak to the reading radiologist, it is one call in and you are being transferred to that radiologist.  Real Radiology strives for what we consider ‘white glove’ service. You will always get someone on the phone who can take care of you no matter what time it is.

Question 3:  How long will it take to implement your service?

There are a significant number of moving parts to a teleradiology implementation.  Groups and sites like yours often find themselves with their implementation ‘delayed’ or ‘pushed’.  For years it was common practice for teleradiology providers to give a general answer of 90-180 days for implementation.  That’s a pretty big window.  Real Radiology goes through a very robust and analytical evaluation prior to partnering with you and part of that is giving you a ‘go live target’ date.  We will let you know what that target is, how many radiologists we would like to credential, and a host of other information to help you plan accordingly on your side.  Real Radiology makes a conscious effort to over deliver.

Question 4:  Are there any exams that you do not read? 

This is an incredibly important question as these can sneak up on you.  Teleradiology providers do have a list of exams that they will not read.  It is important that you ask for it as some will not share it until asked.  This can cause significant issues once you go live when you send a study and it does not get read because it is on that list.  Real Radiology shares that complete list with you up front.  The studies on that list are studies that Real Radiology leadership feels are better read by onsite radiologists and specialists.

Question 5:  What is your ownership structure?

This can be a touchy question for some as this is a hot topic right now.  There is significant attention on private equity’s involvement in healthcare and teleradiology is part of that conversation.  This is important because it will tell you where your money is going.  Is it going to a private equity group or is it going to radiologist owners and small business owners?  Real Radiology is proudly radiologist owned and operated so you can rest assured that when partnering with us, your money staying in the radiology community.

Real Radiology strives to provide that ‘white glove’ service and that starts at the initial conversation.  We welcome questions like these, and we look forward to answering them!  Contact our Sales & Business Development Director, Dan Cinotto ( ), today to ask these any other questions you may have!