Top Five Predicted Radiology & Teleradiology Trends in 2024
With one month already down in 2024, we wanted to take this opportunity to look down the road at what the predicted trends are in radiology and teleradiology space. With the demand for teleradiology set to skyrocket (a 348% industry wide project growth by 20331), it is crucial to understand the impact trends like these will have on the industry. They will undoubtedly impact capacity availability and your performance metrics.
The first area of substantial predicted growth comes in the form of prostate MRI2. MR imaging of the prostate gland has gained significant steam over the last decade, and the demand for subspecialty trained radiologists in this area has risen alongside. These subspecialty trained radiologists can be incredibly difficult to find, as these types of fellowships can be quite rare. Rest assured, Real Radiology has you covered as members of our group have this highly sought-after training. If you are looking for someone to cover your prostate MR reads while you get your program up and running, or into perpetuity, don’t hesitate, give us a call.
The second area of substantial predicted growth is US and MRI volume sent to teleradiology3. It has been a common misconception that teleradiology only focuses on overnight, emergent types of exams (i.e. stat CT and X-Ray from emergency departments). As the telehealth and teleradiology spaces continue to expand, it has become quite common for our partners to send us their routine MRI and US overflow during the day hours where, in the past, teleradiology was substantially underutilized. They are, in effect, utilizing teleradiology as a supplemental FTE to their group. Keep this in mind when you are deciding on incorporating teleradiology into your workflow.
The next trend on our list for 2024, which is a very common topic of conversation, is Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Blockchain, with the latter tending to take a back seat during the conversation. Information, articles, and updates on AI are quite common, so we will focus on the latter: blockchain. We won’t spend the remainder of this blog discussing what blockchain is, but rather what it is doing for the field of teleradiology. There is widespread information on the internet about what blockchain is if you need a bit of a refresher. Blockchain’s role in teleradiology comes in the form of image transmission. As the need for teleradiology rises, the need for image validity is rising in parallel. This is the business case for blockchain utilization in teleradiology4. This gives the radiologist proof that the images they are receiving are unchanged or gives them notice that the images were manipulated or if there was a connectivity issue. This will undoubtedly have an impact on data security, so we should certainly keep this on our collective radars.
Coming in at number four on our list of top trends in teleradiology for 2024 is the United States government’s continued focus and encouragement in healthcare digitalization. The United States Agency for International Development says it right in their ‘vision for action’: ‘USAID envisions a world in which advances in digital technologies are leveraged to help people access the information and services they need to live healthy and prosperous lives.5’ One could go so far as to say that’s exactly what teleradiology is doing as the teleradiology space aligns quite nicely with their vision.
Last, but certainly not least, on the list of 2024 trends in radiology and teleradiology is the continued scrutiny of private equity’s role in healthcare. It is no secret to anyone that this has been a hot topic of late as larger, private equity backed teleradiology groups have dominated industry headlines. The most recent of those headlines came from Radiology Business stating ‘White House Announces Plan to Scrutinize Private Equity Ownership in Healthcare’6. This is going to be a public inquiry by the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, and Health and Human Services. Times like these we are certainly glad to be solely radiologist owned.
The wraps up our list of the top trends in radiology and teleradiology for the coming year! As always, if you find yourself having questions or want to explore the possibility of incorporating teleradiology into your current workflow, please reach out to us. We are here to help and answer any questions you may have!