TMC goes to the Faroe Islands

In 800 AD a small group of intrepid Norsemen took a chance and sailed to an archipelago in the Nordic Sea. A desolate, inhospitable and remote place, 700km away from the nearest land mass. Last month, the Faroe Islands had a second, even smaller invasion as TMC’s Soren Jensen, account manager for Scandinavia, paid the islanders a long overdue visit. Why? Because there is a great opportunity to connect them to better medical treatment through our model…

These remote, windswept islands, populated by less than 50,000 hardy folk, are separated from sophisticated medical technology and support by a vast hostile sea and inclement weather. So what happens when these tough people need medical attention?

Currently, they do what they can at their hospital. But for more complex cases they have to fly to the nearest alternative hospital, more than 700 km away. This is expensive, inconvenient and not ideal from a medical perspective. So in 2014, TMC stepped in with a solution: bringing quality diagnosis to the Faroe Islands through remote teleradiology.

“Right now, they’ve only got one full-time radiologist who is about to retire, so I thought this would be a great time to pay them a visit to discuss how we can help them more,” says Soren.

“Having spent a few days getting to know the medical teams at the hospitals, discussing potential plans for the future and finding ways in which we can increase co-operation, we believe TMC can really help to improve the quality of the lives of the islanders by improving the scanning and diagnosis that’s available. This means fewer patients would have to fly away for treatment and costs would fall for the islanders. Our talks are continuing. We think there are lots of opportunities… and so do they.”

Work habits: the best time to schedule a meeting

Frustrated from never getting the chance for a meeting with your department head? Maybe you’re simply scheduling it at the wrong time, according to a survey published in the online newspaper Quartz.

Monday mornings are popular times for a meeting, which means two thirds of invites around that time will be declined. You might be better off asking to meet in the afternoon, once things have calmed down, Quartz suggests.

However, if you really need to pin someone down then probably the best time to do it is 2.30pm on Tuesday. Just make sure the person you are speaking to has had their lunch, though, because otherwise the chances are their judgement will be impaired.

ISAS accreditation offers vote of confidence for Telemedicine Clinic’s quality standards in the UK

TMC is thrilled to have been awarded UKAS accreditation against the Imaging Services Accreditation System (ISAS). ISAS is the only nationally recognised accreditation scheme available for diagnostic imaging services in the UK.

Ida Anderman, TMC Quality Manager and Clinical Governance co-ordinator and the driving force behind TMC’s bid for accreditation, commented: “We’re delighted to have met the demanding standards required and to continue to be leading the way in UK teleradiology services. In our business, high-quality reporting is always our top priority. It’s the cornerstone of everything we do.

“The assessor told us that they were ‘impressed with our well-documented system’ and were also very positive about Optemis, TMC’s own state-of-the-art technology platform and the core of our Collaborative Diagnostic Network (CDxN). They also complimented us on our consistently high levels of quality assurance, including recognition of our rigorous approach to second readings.”

Dr. George McInnes, Consultant Radiologist at Poole Hospital NHS Trust and an advisor to TMC, said: “ISAS is a demanding standard, and rightly so. It is a complicated process and making it through to gain accreditation in such a short time is a tribute to the hard working team at TMC. It is also a testament to the confidence that ISAS has in our ability to deliver high-quality, efficient teleradiology that our patients and customers can continue to rely on.”

George continued: “Increasingly, this will become the industry standard and any teleradiology business that does not sign up to this process will be at a commercial disadvantage. ISAS gives our clients and their patients the reassurance they need to believe in our product. It also helps to reinforce TMC’s unrelenting focus on client and patient needs and our commitment to delivering the highest levels of service in a way that is practical, efficient and robust.”

And Alexander Boehmcker, TMC’s Chief Executive said: “This is a strong endorsement of TMC’s commitment to lead the industry in providing quality teleradiology and telepathology services. It shows clearly that TMC puts patient outcomes first and assures continued confidence in the quality of our reporting and our technology.

“TMC continues to break new ground in this field, leading the way in collaborative diagnostic networks such as CDxN, our leading-edge radiology network designed by radiologists for radiologists. Our commitment to reducing the UK’s radiology capacity gap remains undiminished and we will continue to innovate to help to manage the current capacity crisis in the NHS. This is just another example of how our high standards are applied in action and I’m very proud of the TMC team for getting us to this point so quickly and so well.”

Henrik Agrell, TMC’s Vice President added: “A number of expert radiologists in various Scandinavian countries have also shown interest in the ISAS accreditation. This very comprehensive and radiology specific quality assurance system could really inspire similar accreditation programmes in those markets”.

 

 

TMC Academy offers up to 20% discount on Autumn courses.

We’re now offering substantial savings of up to 20% off all our Autumn 2016 TMC Academy programme courses. Discounts include:

  • 5% off per person for single registrations
  • 15% off per person for groups of three or more
  • 20% off per person for groups of 5 or more

TMC Academy was launched as a way of tackling the growing radiology capacity crisis in the UK and the Autumn schedule offers affordable courses in convenient European destinations, easy access to subspecialty expertise and nationally recognised CME and CPD accreditation.

According to Szabolcs Hetenyi,. Head of MSK Radiology at TMC: “Better skills and specialist expertise can not only help to improve patient outcomes and productivity but can contribute to reducing some of the current radiology capacity challenges affecting the NHS and other European healthcare systems and this year’s TMC Academy programme brings you courses hosted by some of the best radiologists in the world today

We’re delighted to be welcoming some of the best radiologists in the business including Dr Ronald Resnik, Dr Philippe Lefere, Dr Dow-Mu Koh and Dr Elna-Marie Larsson and all our courses are held in convenient European locations. If you act fast, you can sign up for these courses at a discounted price that helps to stretch tight training budgets and helps participants on the road to fast track to subspecialty success.

“Given the current pressure on radiologist capacity in the UK and the recent call from the RCR to increase emphasis on training to avoid a capacity crisis in the future, we think this is a great opportunity to get ahead of the game. We’re really proud of our courses and we’re delighted with the feedback so far. TMC is committed to closing the skills gap in the profession in any way we can to help manage the UK’s radiology capacity challenge”.

According to Dr. Evis Sala, MD, PhD from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York: “I took part in the Advanced pelvic MRI Course in Barcelona last year (2015). It was one of the best courses I have been involved with and the clinical standard was high. The diversity in content and lecturers was a great way for practicing radiologists to get leading specialist knowledge and CME qualifications in a way that fits their busy lives and careers”.

A full list of TMC Academy courses and dates is now available on our TMC Academy website academy.telemedicineclinic.com and a summary is outlined below:

 

Date Course Location
Sep 29-30 VCTC – CT Colonography Workshop

12 CME credits

Hooglede, Belgium
Oct 13-15 4th Barcelona Musculoskeletal MRI Course

15 CME credits

Barcelona, Spain
Oct 20-21 Advanced Clinical Abdominal MRI Course

9 CME credits

Barcelona, Spain
Nov 3-5 Emergency Radiology Course, Neurological Emergencies

16 CME credits

Barcelona, Spain

 

Clinical practice: subspecialisation improves outcomes

Radiologists have long indulged in a sometimes spirited debate about the merits of subspecialisation versus general practice. A growing body of evidence, however, now supports the commonsense idea that the more you know about a subject, the better you can advise on it.

Last year, for example, an American study showed the subspecialisation of the radiologist was one of three key factors that affect the quality of MRI scan readings.

The finding backed up research from 2014 that revealed the degree of subspecialisation had a significant impact on the quality of after-hours CT studies.

Also in 2014, a separate study on abdominal scans concluded: “Subspecialty review of abdominal imaging exams can provide clinical benefit. Half of the discrepancies in this series of abdominal reinterpretations were due to overcalls.”

The choice of whether to subspecialise or generalise will naturally be a personal one, and practitioners can doubtless point to pros and cons on both sides. From a purely clinical perspective, however, it is becoming harder to argue against the benefits of subspecialisation.

o   What’s your view? Are you a subspecialist or generalist? And which option do you think offers the best value from a personal and a professional perspective?

Brexit – what does it mean for EU radiology?

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) sent shock waves through many sectors of the British community. For radiology, the pain is particularly acute…

The UK medical community has long welcomed an influx of foreign radiology talent because we appear to have the worst capacity shortfall of any country in Europe, with just 4.8 radiologists per 100,000 people.

Since the Brexit campaign was largely based on pledges to curb immigration, it seems likely that influx of talent will dwindle in future.

Worse still, the outcome of the European referendum has sparked alarm among the 280 or so practitioners from other EU countries that are currently providing valuable support to the NHS. Some have already voiced concern for their future in the UK.

It’s easy to appreciate their position. Moving to a foreign country is hard enough without having to worry about your destination seemingly being in the grip of a bout of xenophobia. Whichever way you look at it, Brexit looks likely to worsen the UK’s radiology capacity challenge.

There’s no going back, though. Rather than brood the outcome of the referendum, the UK radiology community need to come up with a plan of action, fast. As usual, the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) has got a handle on the problem.

In its recent report, Radiology training 2016-2026: a vision and a solution, it recommends overhauling training to “build the UK radiologist workforce to a size close to that of mainland Europe: at least eight whole-time clinical radiologists per 100,000 population.”

There’s a lot to be said for this approach. New technologies mean it is now easier than ever to provide quality training to more people, more quickly.

Also, the RCR recommends developing radiology academies, which are already being offered through private-sector players such as Telemedicine Clinic. The only problem is that training will take time, and the UK needs extra capacity now.

That capacity is available in Europe; it’s also available further afield, although as the RCR observes: “Getting into the UK, especially for non-EU doctors, can be difficult, expensive and slow.”

However, if experts can’t or won’t come to work in the UK, why don’t we take the work to them instead? Right now radiologists based in Sydney, Australia, are reviewing on-call scans for NHS hospitals. Others will soon be doing the same job from the Caribbean.

For a long time, the UK radiology community argued whether or not teleradiology is a good thing. Brexit changes the nature of the argument dramatically. It’s no longer a question of whether teleradiology is good or not. In the short term, it might be the only hope we’ve got.

– George McInnes

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Clinical policy: should your first choice be a second opinion?

Getting another expert to review your work is not always feasible… or enjoyable. But research last year has added to mounting evidence that second opinions should be used wherever possible because they improve patient outcomes.

A paper by Yulia Lakhman, Melvin D’Anastasi, Maura Miccò and Evis Sala shows second-opinion reviews of gynaecological oncology MRI scans could have prevented unnecessary surgery in up to 7.5% of patients.

Naturally this poses a challenge for our profession. It is intuitively obvious that double-checking results could help improve the quality of work, and Telemedicine Clinic’s teleradiology service, for example, already involves double reading of 10% of scans, for quality purposes.

But how can this be done in environments where resources are already stretched? What do you think?

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