As a leading telemedicine software solutions provider with a specialty in radiology, TeleRay aims to transform global healthcare. A lofty goal for the Chicago-based company for sure, but not unimaginable given its technology stack and impressive positioning within healthcare built over the last decade.
Underlying this goal, the healthcare environment has been changing more rapidly in the past decade than ever before. As its preeminent clinical tool, radiology continues to dominate healthcare and yet remains among its fastest growing specialties. This growth is fueled by a number of factors, including (but not limited to) ever-developing technologies which improve underlying non-invasive diagnostics and treatments, systemic pressure from growing demand, regulation and economic factors.
Further, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the availability of powerful smartphone technologies, the widespread adoption and acceptance of telemedicine by both providers and patients alike has exploded the practice of remote medicine. The confluence of these factors has resulted in a rare seismic shift in healthcare, an industry which typically measures adoption rates of new practices in decades rather than months. While not a panacea, the adoption of telemedicine addresses many of the stresses in healthcare such as cost, patient throughput, infection control etc. However, despite those benefits, concerns arise over the reliability, speed, and security of supporting technologies.
TeleRay’s management, led by CEO Tim Kelley, has been involved in the digital evolution of radiology since the 1990’s. Aside from the technological advancements mentioned above, digitalization significantly enhanced radiology practice and patient evaluation due to improved availability, communication, storage and sharing of medical imaging vs traditional film. Having led development in the space, TeleRay understands the scope of digital evolution in the medical landscape and designs leading solutions that elegantly address the challenges created by the growth of radiology and the new paradigm of telemedicine.
To understand the importance of TeleRay’s solutions, the nature of the most significant challenges should be explained.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, acquisition devices such as ultrasound, X-Ray machines, CT and MRI scanners – also known collectively as modalities – don’t readily communicate with each other or peripheral systems such as scanners, Electronic Medical Record (“EMR”) or scheduling systems. This is sometimes due to manufacturers’ protective practices or because the underlying communication protocols are inherently incompatible. The specifics of these difficulties are beyond the scope of this article but suffice to say these problems with communication and sharing create significant cost, delay to patient care, unnecessary rescans and interruptions to clinical workflow valued in hundred of billions of dollars annually to US healthcare.
Security is another significant concern. The standards allowed by current regulation are dangerously outdated, but most solutions only meet these minimum standards to be “compliant”. Financial liabilities for unauthorized access to patient data pose an existential threat to practices and hospital systems alike, so this is an area of acute focus for providers and creates an environment which inhibits sharing between networks for fear of data loss.
By the nature of telemedicine, patients are consulted remotely. There is ample provision in the market for face-to-face video interaction, including remote vital signs monitoring. However, many clinical consultations involve imaging either at the point of acquisition or for reviewing results for which historically there has been no compliant option. This results in either the clinician or patient having to travel to a physical location for consultation, posing significant logistical, cost and clinical challenges, particularly in rural areas.
With its patient-centric and industry-first approach, TeleRay’s consolidated healthcare communication platform enables efficient consultation by and between medical professionals and patients within the existing clinical workflows and infrastructure including access to imaging. As the first truly device agnostic multi-functional platform supporting a single user interface, TeleRay provides agility and flexibility by generating real-time consultation, the capture and management of accurate imaging studies, report creation and scheduling while securely storing and transferring data between disparate networks.
User satisfaction (and adoption) depends on an easy-to-navigate interface that does not disrupt current clinical workflows. Accordingly, TeleRay’s intuitive interface design simplifies extremely complex functionalities. Unlike standard or outdated portals, TeleRay designs solutions that can be customized to accommodate a wide array of workflows without the need for manuals or interminable learning curves. This includes proper CPT coding to avoid undercharging or unintended billing errors, further adding value to TeleRay’s technologies and tools.
TeleRay also creates unique products to help make medical diagnoses more effortless and convenient. Its Live Streaming tool enhances remote practice by providing consulting clinicians real-time virtual access to a modality from anywhere, allowing them to see the device’s viewer, the local technologist and patient alike as if they were in the room. This facility allows specialists to offer training, guide the use of the device (such as probe selection) and patient positioning, regardless of the type of modality or its manufacturer to optimize diagnosis and avoid re-scanning. A live consultation session can treat and save patients even in high emergency cases such as stroke and trauma triage.
On this point, Mr Kelley noted “We have had cases of high-risk pregnancies that are hundreds of miles from the nearest Maternal Fetal Medicine (“MFM”) specialist. TeleRay can put an MFM specialist virtually in the room to not only assist a sonographer in capturing the right images and making a proper diagnosis but eliminate the need for the MFM to travel and, more importantly, prevent an unnecessary trip to the ER for the expecting mother.”
Imaging equipment is essential to the smooth operation of most practices. When requiring service, it usually takes hours or even days for a qualified technician to attend the site for repairs, which are almost always software rather than mechanical in nature. TeleRay enables secure remote access to the device for such repair / service, the technician enjoying the same range of access to the operating systems as if there in person. The time and cost savings associated with such remote access are significant, enabling speedier return to patient care for the provider.
TeleRay employs state of the art peer-to-peer security and compression technologies which are orders of magnitude more effective than required by current regulation. As a result, TeleRay has never been breached and is unique in offering a $2million anti-breach indemnity to users. Also, as a function of its industry leading lossless compression and spanning technologies, the huge studies produced by some modern modalities (sometimes many hundreds of MB) can be reliably transferred in TeleRay’s universally readable format in a matter of seconds – regarded by users as truly groundbreaking.
The speed and range of cellular networks, internet connectivity, and device compatibility continue to challenge the present-day medical climate. As early as 2011, the World Health Organization cited the need for cost-effective, advanced technical solutions. In response TeleRay developed a secure, fast, and centralized platform that supports high-speed, wide connectivity range, last mile internet, and secure networks. TeleRay’s solutions connect thousands of hospitals and healthcare practices around the world.
Most providers retain employees to continue using clunky, financially unviable tools. An example of this is transferring patient data from an ultrasound machine to the patient chart in the EMR system. It is not uncommon for doctors and nurses to print data from the ultrasound machine onto shiny thermal paper, then re-key this data into the EMR manually and then load associated images via flash drive. The time, cost and likelihood of error created in this process is completely avoidable. TeleRay provides solutions to problems such as these which improve patient outcomes, increase revenue while reducing cost and clinician burnout.
Recently TeleRay helped one of its clients increase patient throughput for interventional radiology. Its tools and solutions allowed patients to seek consultation without returning to the clinic or hospital for a physical appointment. Patients could schedule a virtual meeting or speak to their doctors whether at work or home. Virtual consultations made the treatment process quicker and more efficient.
It is this philosophy of truly understanding its customers and guaranteeing world-class, high-quality services at reasonable cost which has driven TeleRay’s presence in thousands of facilities globally. With this approach, who would bet against them in their quest to transform global healthcare?