Purpose: To evaluate, discuss and compare economic aspects of teleradiological applications in CT examinations in a small hospital. Scenario (1): CT examination by an extern institution including transport of a patient. Szenario (2): External consultation of an internal CT examination (teleradiology according to ROV). Scenario (3): Complete in-house radiology department. To evaluate economic aspects of teleradiology service providers.
Materials and methods: Costs have been separated into fixed and variable costs in a model. Total costs of 500 CT examinations per year have been calculated for the three scenarios. A break-even analysis has been performed to determine the necessary/minimal number of CTs per year for economical advantages. The number of CT consultations for teleradiology service providers to make profit has been calculated.
Results: Scenario (1): This is the most cost-effective scenario for 500 CTs per year, but most time-consuming. Beyond 548 CTs per year using a single slice CT and 965 CTs per year using a multislice CT the teleradiology scenario [scenario (2)] is most cost-effective. Beyond 1065 CTs per year an in-house radiology department [scenario (3)] is economically reasonable. On the basis of 30 Euros per CT consultation a teleradiology service providing system will be profitable starting from 322 CT consultations per year.
Conclusion: Teleradiology applications are economically reasonable in a wide range in small hospitals. CT teleradiology services can also be provided on a cost-effective basis at a reachable number of consultations.