wordsworth ary 2002, the company was started and a website was designed after which the clients started pouring in. The network later grew through referrals from our satisfied clients. In 2005, our company became the first healthcare organization outside Singapore to be accredited by the Ministry of Health, Singapore. The polyclinics in Singapore had a problem. The turnaround time for reporting of X-rays was three days, which we manage to reduce to one hour by implementing teleradiology reporting. This was a significant achievement that received acclaim from both the leadership and the media in Singapore. By 2006, the company was shifted to its own campus in Bangalore. Since then we have diversified into various other businesses in the same healthcare-technology space. We have Telerad Tech, our technology division that has developed an intelligent Teleradiology workflow named RADSpa; we have RxDx, a multi-specialty outpatient clinic and diagnostic center, we have a radiology teaching portal www.RadGuru.net that provides teaching resources for radiologists across the globe, and we have Image Core Lab which provides specialized reporting and analysis services to pharma and biotech companies conducting clinical trials. We are a managed services provider for Telemedicine. And we also have the not-for-profit Telerad Foundation which provides reporting services free of charge to hospitals in remote locations Having experience in the US, Europe and different Asian countries, how do you see the standards of Indian radiology segment? The standard of radiology in India has significantly improved since the time when I was a medical student. Primarily the access to high end imaging technology has seen rapid development in the past two decades. While in the past, imaging in India was focused on conventional radiology and ultrasound, today it has evolved into sophisticated and advanced imaging technologies including multislice CT, MRI, PET-CT etc. In the 1980s, when I was doing my radiology residency at AIIMS, there were only a few educational programs that gave postgraduates exposure to MRI or even CT. Many of
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the colleges that taught radiology courses had neither of these equipment. So the residents had to travel to private centers for hands on experience on CT and MRI. From such a situation, today the latest technologies in radiology are unveiled in India simultaneously with the West. The standards in India today are thus, equally on par with other developed countries. India is an emerging teleradiology market. From a businessman’s point of view, how did it enhance the medical practice in India? The Indian economy has been growing at a fast pace. One of the benefits of this is that investments are pouring into the healthcare market, resulting in deployment of high end diagnostic technologies across the country. The consumers too are more aware of their healthcare and diagnostic needs. Thus, the need for quality imaging has risen significantly. But, India faces a severe scarcity of radiologists. Our country with a population of over 1 billion people has a radiologist strength of only 10,000, which means the ratio between the doctor and the patients is 1:100,000 which is extremely low. When there is such a huge scarcity of radiologists, the benefits that teleradiology can offer and hence its market potential is high. Hence, teleradiology can not only enhance the level of medical practice in India, but also help to fulfill the radiologist requirement of the industry. Newer hospitals that are coming up in smaller towns are able to receive high quality reports in a short time even if they do not have a radiologist in house at all times. In the coming years, India will witness a rapid market growth in terms of teleradiology.
Started in 2002 as a service provider to the US hospitals in radiology report analysis, what are the major challenges that you and your team have faced during the last one decade? Being the first-of-its-kind company, we had to face challenges initially. People were new to the idea of teleradiology and we needed to educate them about its benefits. We recruited radiologists who were in the US at that time and who were planning to relocate to India. The company started with just two employees. India’s broadband connectivity, which was limited at the time, was another hurdle, as it was unreliable and the need to have multiple backups pushed up the costs. Other infrastructural challenges such as power outages also provided a threat, requiring major costs such as multiple UPS and generator backup. Furthermore at the start, India was still being perceived as a ‘third world country’ and we had to work exceptionally hard to overcome this perception by delivering very high quality of service. What are the significant differences between conventional radiology practices and teleradiology practices? How reliable is the teleradiology services when compared to conventional radiology services? The essential difference between both is the presence of radiologists on site. In conventional radiology practice, the radiologist is present physically at the site of imaging, whereas in teleradiology, the images are interpreted remotely by a radiologist who is not present at the site where the images are generated. Teleradiology improves patient care by allowing radiologists to provide services