When it comes to teleradiology consults, urgency matters.
For urgent medical conditions, such as when ruling out surgical issues like GI obstructions, you’ll want dependable results with a quick turnaround time. Also, clients tend to want answers as soon as possible.
Within the veterinary industry, turnaround times for large teleradiology service providers have grown to 30-40 days on average. For most patients’ needs, this is unacceptable. That’s why we’re happy to offer guaranteed 24-hour interpretations—and 1-hour stat interpretations—often for a more affordable price than companies that have a longer turnaround time.
Fast, accurate results help everyone, including you. This is great for you, your clients, and your patients, because an expert second opinion on your diagnosis helps you form a treatment plan with confidence.
“Best practices” for teleradiology can help you get the most from your consults. To get the most out of your teleradiology consultations, there are a few good rules of thumb to follow. This includes sending good quality images, providing patient history, and selecting the best service for your needs.
Get the Best Quality Radiographs You Can for Accurate Results
Poor quality images may be “non-diagnostic.”
In other words, they might not provide enough information to reach a diagnosis. This makes it harder to decide the next step for your patient—something that’s frustrating for both you and your client.
To avoid this scenario, and to capture diagnostic x-ray images, try these tips…
1. Make sure your views show exactly what is needed: the correct part of the body in the right position(s), collimated appropriately. For example, if you’re doing a study of the lungs and heart, include at least three views (right lateral, left lateral, and VD) focused specifically on the thorax.
And if you’re looking for evidence of a cranial cruciate ligament tear, collimate to focus on the stifle (rather than a zoomed out view of the entire leg) so there is enough detail to show the position of the infrapatellar fat pa
2. Keep the patient aligned and still for better radiographic interpretation.
A patient lying “straight,” rather than twisting or squirming, provides the best view for proper radiographic interpretation. Also, limiting the patient’s movement will help you avoid blur artifact. For the best results, use appropriate restraint (chemical and/or physical) and add props like troughs, tape, or other tools when needed.
3. Use the correct technique for excellent radiographic images. Under- or overexposure, graininess, and other issues can ruin a perfectly good radiograph and hide subtle lesions, making your images difficult to interpret. Avoid this by training your staff on proper techniques for obtaining radiographs, retaking views if needed, and keeping your equipment maintained.
Include Patient History to Help With Radiographic Interpretation
The teleradiology consultant will look at your images in their entirety. They’ll give you information about the area in question, but also mention incidental findings. Including as much information about the patient as possible will help with reaching a diagnosis. That’s because in addition to reading radiographs in great detail, teleradiology consultants can use their knowledge to help you create a differential diagnosis list.
Think of the consultant as your partner in diagnosing and helping the patient—and remember that more information is always helpful.
What should you include? The patient’s signalment, medical history, clinical symptoms, and any other information you think is relevant can all help.
Choose the Best Service for Your Clients, Your Patients, and Yourself
It’s easy for clients to wrap their brains around the idea of working with a specialist. After all, in human medicine, radiographs are usually taken by technicians and then sent to a radiologist for interpretation—so this process is familiar to clients.
Your clients appreciate an expert opinion, but they also want answers quickly. This is especially true if their pet is ill and the client is worried.
Your patients want to feel better as quickly as possible. That means getting an accurate diagnosis in a timely manner.
You want fast results that are also affordable. You probably want to receive results quickly, too, especially if there’s any question of a surgical condition. But you also want to see a good ROI (reasonably priced services that deliver value to your practice), since you need to stay in business in order to care for patients. So an affordable service, with guaranteed fast turnaround times, is an excellent option for your needs. Timely, expert second opinions will aid in formulating your treatment plan.
Expert second opinions may also help veterinarians avoid liabilities from an inaccurate diagnosis. In a day and age where veterinary malpractice cases are evolving to award damages beyond the monetary value of a pet (one pet owner was awarded $39,000 in damages after suing their veterinarian), having that second opinion is a great bonus. For new and experienced practitioners alike, this expert second opinion on your diagnosis can really provide peace of mind.
Would you like fast, dependable, affordable results for your teleradiology consults?
Ask about our service plans (discounts available) for your clinic—or learn more by visiting our website, or by contacting us here.