Today the whole world has come to a standstill because of the coronavirus pandemic. Social and economic life has not seen a single normal day since the arrival of the pandemic. During this whole period, one major section of society that has seen the toughest time ever is the healthcare sector but despite the innumerable difficulties, teleradiology has proved itself and has supported the entire healthcare sector in its efforts to fight against COVID-19.
Teleradiology is performed by transmission of medical scans from the diagnostic center or the hospital where they have been captured to the location where the radiologist can do the interpretations.
At present due to the pandemic where it is impossible for a radiologist or any other health care provider to be present with patients at all times, teleradiology has shown a remarkable revolution.
Teleradiology can allow radiologists to perform his or her duties while maintaining social distance. For the treatment of COVID patients, the radiologist is required constantly to report scans, especially of critical patients who need assistance immediately.
Therefore, to have radiologists available 24/7 is very important. This is where teleradiology allows radiologists to work constantly and safely from their respective homes. While some radiologists who have the interventional role may be present at the hospital to perform onsite procedures.
This also helps the radiologists to avoid unnecessary contact which can further restrict the transmission of the virus, sometimes they are self-quarantined due to exposure to a patient with COVID, and sometimes due to a lockdown they cannot be present at the site of treatment but still, they can perform their duties.
In the ongoing pandemic sometimes there is a regional spike in cases and some areas show no many cases, in such circumstances with the help of teleradiology the radiologists can support their fellow radiologists who are packed with high volumes of cases thus a seamless workflow can be maintained.
Chest radiographs and chest CT scan are used for the diagnosis of COVID-19, and for further follow-ups that is to track the effect of medicines and the prognosis of the disease, due to which volumes of these radiographs are very high and they require quick report as well this crisis can be tackled easily with teleradiology. Thus teleradiology is playing a significant role in the care and treatment of patients with COVID.
Teleradiology is not only managing all these high volumes but it is doing it while maintaining social distancing. Radiologists remain isolated from the rest of their community and keep performing his/her duties.
Apart from reporting, teleradiology has been very advantageous for sharing useful information from one part of the world to the other about the different features of COVID-19 which are vast and varied, this could help the physicians to provide better treatment of COVID.
Thus during this present pandemic teleradiology is not only helping in the diagnosis and treatment of COVID while maintaining social distancing but also sharing important information about COVID around the world which can be very useful presently and in the future.
As mentioned above teleradiology has served significantly in the fight against COVID till date and will continue to do so in the future.
This pandemic has taught us a different form of work that is “working from home”. One can believe that post-COVID teleradiology will become an even stronger and more reliable part of routine radiology services.
The need for this technology was felt a couple of decades back and since then it has been evolving but the amount of progress it has shown during this phase of pandemic suggests that this form of radiology practice has got a long way to go.
Teleradiology has proven how it can save time and the efficiency of the onsite radiologist which might be of great use in the future.
At present, the scan volumes are majorly including chest radiographs and CT scans related to COVID patients, and the number of routine radiographs is comparatively less, teleradiology would for sure have a great role to play when the routine radiology practice will come back to track and instead of facing backlogs and overburdening of the onsite radiologist, physicians would prefer to use teleradiology.
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