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EBAY for Medicine and Diagnostic Radiology: Telerays Enters the Market

A new and interesting way to address the ever growing shortage of highly qualified radiologists, Telerays (http://www.telerays.com) has been founded by Houston-based Radiologist Dr. Daniel Roubein, MD. Telerays is essentially an auction-based system for delivery of radiology services, as some have already referred to as an EBAY for radiology and radiologists.

Unlike beanie babies and used car parts, medicine is a much different service and product. Not an uncontroversial topic and will likely continue to stir much discussion in the politics of medicine. Issues such as the transformation of medicine into a commodity and quality of service will continue to be issues as this type of scenario and new practice models evolves.

Telerays addresses the need for high quality medicine by an extensive credentialing process. Hospitals and patients can also benefit by having access to top quality expertise. As we all know, radiologists' expertise truly determines patient outcome and quality. Insurance companies and payors also benefit by reducing costs while providing a higher quality of care in this scenario if successful.

Radiologists are only recruited from the US and Telerays also offers equipment/PACS systems to those radiologists who need a system for diagnostic purposes. Billing arrangements can also be managed by Telerays.

Telerays press release details (HOUSTON, October 2008):

Houston-based Radiologist Daniel Roubein, M.D., founder of Telerays says “Teleradiology was a radical step for the industry, but now serves requests on a routine basis. It provides a safe, easy way to find quality talent at fair prices. And it gives control back to the radiologists to set the fees and accept the cases they want."

His first step was to credential radiologists nationwide and he has had great response…500 inquiries after one week. Telerays’ processes are HIPAA compliant and protect all private health information. Credentialing can take from seven to 30 days and there is no membership fee for doctors or clients. Only radiologists pre-approved by the hospital and imaging centers and fully credentialed with Telerays can bid on the contracts.

To start the bidding process, clients post their requests and all radiologists pre-qualified by them receive an email invitation to bid. The lowest bidder wins the contract, downloads the cases and uploads the final radiology reports. There are no possible delays in diagnosis because the bidding process is settled months in advance “The system has advantages for all parties,” said Dr. Roubein. “Hospitals and imaging centers benefit from market competition that gives them the best price for radiology interpretation services at any given time. By having access to a larger qualified network of radiologists, hospitals and imaging centers can negotiate a better price. There are cost-savings before the bidding even starts as we eliminate the preliminary report,” he added. Telerays provides only final reports.

For radiologists, Telerays reduces the middleman cost and gives a larger portion of the interpretation fee back to the doctor. Most services take up to 50%; Telerays takes 15% and also handles billing.

For more details, you can visit Telerays website here.

By Jennifer Larson
radRounds Writer
October 22, 2008

radRounds.com - Online platform for education, collaboration, image sharing, and networking in the field of diagnostic radiology and medical imaging. radRounds originates from the honored tradition of radiologist and physician-run educational and academic discussions respectfully known as "Radiology Rounds." We welcome all medical imaging professionals to Radiology 2.0, the next generation of radiology rounds - radRounds. All physicians, radiology residents, radiologists, technologists, business managers, PACS administrators, industry leaders, and anyone interested are all coordially invited.

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Comment by Sam Friedman, M.D. on October 22, 2008 at 9:27pm
From the radiologist's point of view, this is a travesty. Rather than "reducing the middleman cost", it encourages low-ball pricing and ultimately reduces the practice of radiology to a low-bid commodity, enriching only Dr. Roubein in the process. Yes, he takes a smaller percentage, but everyone is demeaned in the process. Would you want your CT (or your child's) read by the low-bidding radiologist?

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