More overseas reading

So over the weekend I had a few conversations about my overseas reading post. I wanted to further expand on it. A few years ago a well known colleague and I were discussing CAD. I simply remarked that it might be cheaper to use humans in a country with a low cost of labor.

So what might that look like? Imagine you have a guy. This guy reads knee MR. Knee MR only. He is not a radiologist but he is trained. He does not offer final reads, only a pre-read. Over time a radiologist may become comfortable with our guys knee MR reads. Since that is all he will do he should be very good at reading knee MR.

Know the radiologist needs to make sure he is right. Ultimately if there is an error that will come back to the radiologist, not the guy in India, China, or Nigeria. Still when considering the costs and benefits it may be a very effective way to save radiologists time. Each minute of radiologist time saved is more capacity to read cases. As we see consolidation among practices this is sure to emerge to help create some economies of scale.

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  1. I couldn’t agree more. The country of origin of a reader has no bearing on their ability to perform the role.

    I’d also argue that this would be a great impetus to implement some of the Statistical Process Control techniques found in industrial process design.

    For example, you could take every 5th MRI and have it reviewed by a second radiologist. You can create a statistical score of the quality of the radiologist and make changes as appropriate.

  2. Exactly Dave. In fact as to your last point this is coming to a radiology practice near you. As a student of SPC techniques I want all processes to be measurable. Soon a couple percent of all radiologist studies will be read by a second radiologist for quality purposes. I would love to see incentive based compensation include accuracy as a factor in the formula.

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