International reading of medical imaging studies, or offshore teleradiology, has been a successful, though limited, practice benefiting patients and physicians for over a decade. Domestic and international market forces will continue to expand the demand for teleradiology as an important complement to United States based diagnostic radiology, though a full exodus of diagnostic reading to offshore sites is unlikely and inappropriate. Considerable obstacles remain to taking the teleradiology market to scale; however, barriers related to licensure, liability, quality assurance, and reimbursement will likely yield to market forces to be resolved in recognition of the significant benefits teleradiology offers to consumers and providers. As in other aspects of the economy, the world of medicine is becoming flat as the necessity of physical proximity is becoming less essential in the doctor-patient relationship. Telemedicine, which is the use of electronic information and communication technologies to diagnose and manage medical care from a distance, is realistic, successful, and even preferred in several instances. Telemedicine has existed for decades with telephone and fax, but with the Internet and the ability to view large amounts of audio and visual data at increasingly faster and cheaper rates, the practices of telemedicine is rapidly expanding.


Perspectives: American Diagnostic Radiology Moves Offshore: Where Is the Internet Wave Taking This Field