The Washington Post is reporting about a questionable new trend of sending radiologic images taken of patients in the U.S. to doctors overseas, who in turn provide their opinions on what they see. Patients don’t always know of this practice, and the fact that the doctors are not board certified in the U.S. is raising eyebrows, at least here at Medgadget.
When patients needed urgent CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds late at night at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Conn., emergency room workers used to rouse a bleary-eyed staff radiologist from his bed to read the images. Not anymore.
The work now goes to Arjun Kalyanpur — 8,000 miles away in Bangalore, India. When it is the middle of the night in Connecticut, Kalyanpur is in the middle of his day, handling calls from St. Mary’s and dozens of other American hospitals that transmit pictures to him electronically so he can quickly assess them and advise their doctors.
Kalyanpur runs one of an increasing number of “nighthawk” companies operating in the United States and overseas to take advantage of time-zone differences and the latest technology by having radiologists read images from such far-flung places as Hawaii, India, Australia, Switzerland, Israel and Brazil.