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Virtual discussion of imaging studies improves patient care and promotes new skills among radiologists, researchers reported in Pediatric Radiology. 

Virtual rounds allow radiologists from various facilities around the world to meet and analyze images and clinical matters together without leaving their desks. The study’s authors from New York University began virtual rounds in 2014 so that specialists could connect with radiologists to discuss medical images. By inviting radiologists to weigh in on cases, physicians can learn new perspectives about their patients’ conditions, and are sometimes shown things they would have otherwise missed. 

The study involved clinicians (physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and fellows) from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Congenital Cardiovascular Care Unit who participated in four to five weekly sessions that included an average of 6.4 studies from October 2013 to November 2014. Researchers surveyed 16 practitioners after the study, and they found that NICU physicians favored virtual radiology rounds over conventional rounds. CCVCU practitioners also responded positively to virtual rounds; however, they had never taken part in traditional radiology rounds before and, therefore, hadn’t evaluated patients with input from radiologists prior to the study.

For the pediatric radiologists involved, virtual rounds proved to be a beneficial academic resource. “Interaction with the clinical care providers promotes information exchange that often leads to an improved understanding of the imaging findings, patient pathophysiology and management,” wrote the authors.

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