Objective: Our study was a practice audit to evaluate the feasibility of using low-cost, consumer-oriented computer hardware and software to perform after-hours teleradiology consisting predominantly of CT images.
Materials and methods: We performed a prospective study of 137 consecutive emergent CT scans of the head obtained after business hours. The scans were digitized using a consumer-oriented, low-cost flatbed scanner and sent to on-call radiologists for interpretation. Preliminary reports were then telephoned to the referring physician. Another radiologist who was unaware of the preliminary report evaluated the hard-copy images.
Results: Combining cases with minor discrepancies and those of complete agreement, we found a 96% concordance. Five major discrepancies (4%) were found. No adverse outcomes resulted. Discrepancies were caused by interobserver variation rather than by the quality of the digitized images.
Conclusion: Our results support the use of consumer-oriented, low-cost computer hardware and software for emergent teleradiology in which most of the transmitted studies consist of CT images of the head.