This is not exclusive to China – it’s happening around the world and is great news from the patient perspective. Virtual radiology has huge potential to transform healthcare by providing more access to services and medical expertise in areas around the world that need it most, but the operational structure and workflow support needs to be in place to facilitate it. To develop a remote medical imaging solution, three levels of technology are essential from the top down: supportive diagnostic system and service; health information exchange technology and service; and an image data storage and management platform. It doesn’t just happen, and it won’t add tremendous value if technology and services are not integrated well.
At the same time, the dynamics of the healthcare industry mean radiologists are still being pressed to do more with less. The same qualities that make virtual radiology better for patients are also guiding the business of radiology.
Of course, there’s been plenty of what we call “tele-radiology” going on for years – imaging films that are read remotely by radiologists located far away from the source of the imaging. Tele-radiology was initially used to read images during off-hours and for relatively simple diagnoses. But greater consolidation in hospital systems is now driving consolidation of radiology practices, and those practices are saying, “I'm running a larger, consolidated practice. To be profitable, what do I need to outsource, and what should I keep as my core business?" Likewise, hospitals are deciding to outsource diagnostic imaging to large, chain providers. Virtual radiology also enables providers to increase their volume while maintaining quality.
We’re also seeing world-class academic medical centers moving into “brand name” radiology outsourcing. These premier institutions will contract with primary care hospitals to have their physicians read images from the most complex cases -- allowing patients in nearly any geographic location to get expertise that was once reserved for patients living in sophisticated urban settings. To me, that’s driving toward the goal of better global healthcare for all.
Yes! Philips is supporting this transition to virtual radiology with an AI-driven imaging platform that can link hospitals, medical centers and outsourced providers located around the world to create a seamless virtual radiology network. We also have the insights to be able to broker the most cost-effective and clinically advanced agreements between stakeholders. Thus, we can help facilitate the spread of virtual radiology around the globe.
Right. Like the World Health Organization, Philips is committed to long-term partnerships with governments, health systems and others to move toward “health for all.” Virtual radiology can help us achieve success in shifting away from designing care around diseases and institutions to designing care for people.
 Commercially available in China only