With the rate at which new radiologists enter the field being outpaced by a much larger increase in the number of images that any given radiologist is tasked to examine throughout his work day, health care providers are putting an understandable emphasis on efficiency gains.
These derive largely from a combination of new technology and reinvented operating techniques touching upon such things as improved capacity distribution and more integrated data sharing methods; one of the most dramatic of these innovations has been the belated catching-on of teleradiology, a fast-growing sub-sector involving remote interpretation of images by radiologists whose skills might otherwise be underemployed at a time of increasing demand.
The relatively slow increase in the number of working radiologists within the U.S. is all the more remarkable for coming even in the wake of a half-decade growth spurt by which an influx of investment capital fueled the entry of dozens of new firms into the marketplace, with many of these having already proven their worth just a few years in. Today, radiology is a $13 billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone and growth is projected to continue, though perhaps at reduced rates; barriers to entry have heightened due to the now-necessary costs of developing or buying proprietary technology, satisfying consumer demands for expensive accreditation, and complying with the licensing fees of dozens of state governments. Teleradiologists, meanwhile, are finding themselves subject to the same regulatory requirements and billing issues that have long been faced by their more traditional counterparts.
Of course, the relative increase of the Middle Eastern health care sector as a whole – including more widespread demand for specialized treatment – has prompted investors both local and international to target the region for many of the same new developments in radiology. In preparation for the expected rush, Middle Eastern health care centers are revising their infrastructure upwards; Al Ain Hospital in Abu Dabai underwent a major renovation in its radiology department in September of 2009, and other are expected to do likewise over the next several years. At the same time, the particular needs of various Arab populations with respect to the relative prevalence of certain diseases and genetic factors is sparking an increase in research and medical literature focused on the occasional peculiarities of Middle Eastern medicine.
ISET Healthcare and Biomed Middle East Invites the radiologists to please join in this conversation. Please feel free to put your feelings and “have you say” on this web site. For Hospitals and healthcare suppliers in Middle East please feel free to contact us for the training and other consultancy related to teleradiology.