By Brian Fabrizio
As hospitals and private health offices nationwide slowly begin to emerge from the COVID-induced challenges posed over the last two years, there is a new understanding of, and necessity for, adaptable medical technology and practices. Changes in the medical environment are becoming more important to the general public than ever before, with telehealth as a growing–and most likely permanent–practice. For healthcare providers under immense pressure to provide top care to COVID and non-COVID patients, having reliable medical technology is essential for functionality.
Healthcare professionals have a unique opportunity to ensure that these shifting healthcare practices and patient experiences are ultimately positive, with an increased presence of technology to aid hybrid training and patient care. Collaboration among healthcare professionals via live video interactions is now a reality and will likely be a practice that continues to grow in the future. As a result, technology companies are stepping up to meet these positive developments driven by the coronavirus by offering products and services that stimulate growth and optimal patient care.
The Hybrid Healthcare Model
The increased use of technology and the emphasis on hybrid healthcare will have lasting impacts on our current healthcare system and normalities for patient care. More than ever, hospitals function in a world that is largely online, so familiarizing practitioners and patients with hybrid healthcare is essential. Many clinicians and educators are embracing the use of live video in the training of future physicians, including surgeons and radiologists, and other medical professionals. For this reason, proactively integrating top-of-the-line advanced technology into healthcare environments is increasingly necessary.
Specifically, radiology is a medical field uniquely qualified to adopt a hybrid form of education and service. Diagnostic radiology is largely electronic work as is, allowing for a relatively smooth transition to telehealth during the pandemic. In fact, a recent report revealed that the University of Virginia School of Medicine has successfully operated a remote radiology residency program since late 2020 to maintain optimal productivity and COVID safety.
This trend of remote radiology work is continuing to grow and allows for more flexibility, but most importantly, it allows for images to be read in a timely fashion. It’s critical that the technology in radiologists’ home offices delivers the same level of precision as it would in a hospital setting. Not only do remote radiologists require a computer system to run their preferred PACS, they also need diagnostic monitors that are lightweight, easy to connect, and allow them to read images with a high degree of accuracy.
With hybrid radiology rising, technology companies must ensure that remote and in-person radiologists, educators, and students have the tools necessary to succeed. Manufacturers need to make telehealth, hybrid collaboration, and learning possible and, in turn, must listen to and meet the demands of radiologists and healthcare professionals. Technology companies can also offer insight into what technology systems are best for individual facilities and offer expert engineering services pre- and post-installation for a seamless transition.
Some technology features are particularly important for functionality and to ensure that radiologists and other healthcare professionals are supported in their aspirations for excellent patient care. Low-dose imaging in radiology equipment, high-level image sensitivity, and impeccable image quality are top priorities for radiologists, and many technology vendors match these requirements.
Are You Equipped for Telehealth?
Technology companies can also provide radiology equipment that is easy to install, lightweight, and wireless to support easy movement within hospitals as needed—wireless x-ray detectors have been very useful during the pandemic because clinicians can operate them in a variety of locations.
Manufacturers now supply radiology equipment that is cost-conscious, supports compliance needs, and secures patient information safely, making the decision to upgrade a simple one. Looking ahead, radiologists and all healthcare professionals can re-examine and optimize workflows and patient care in collaboration with new, state-of-the-art technology provided by manufacturers. Working together, healthcare facilities and technology companies can generate the most productive and positive medical environments possible in a world recovering from COVID-19.
Brian Fabrizio is medical information displays team leader at LG Business Solutions USA.