Teleradiology is a comprehensive part of telehealth services. Teleradiology refers to electronic transmission of radiology images between two locations via technology for emergency services or second opinion. This service bridges the gap between the imbalance of demand and supply of expert radiologists and diagnostic services. Initially, the image transfer process was tedious, time consuming, and provided unreliable image clarity and quality. Currently, teleradiology shows the rapid progression in image processing and transmission tools and technologies. Hence, radiology experts believe that the teleradiology market will provide lucrative business opportunities in the near future.
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Increasing number of procedures, high awareness as it is a vintage technique, and low cost as compared to other modalities are the key drivers of the X-ray teleradiology segment. However, computed tomography teleradiology is considered the most lucrative segment of the teleradiology market in Western Europe. Ability of computed tomography to provide 3-D images of body parts such as brain, lungs, abdomen and heart; accuracy in diagnosis, and consistent development in the technology are likely to make it the most lucrative segment of the teleradiology market in Western Europe during the forecast period from 2015 to 2023.
However, complex and in-depth images of computed tomography are difficult to interpret, and hence need an expert radiologist. Therefore, demand for teleradiology is anticipated to increase rapidly during the forecast period. Ultrasound teleradiology accounted for the second largest share of the teleradiology market in 2014, as it is a first-line modality in the diagnosis of several abdominal disorders and during pregnancy. Additionally, low cost and absence of ionizing radiation makes it a more preferred modality to ultrasound. However, complexity of 3-D and 4-D images need experienced radiologists. This further increases the scope of teleradiology. Major countries in Western Europe such as the U.K., Germany, and France are facing the problem of lack of expert radiologists.