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A teleradiology network for the improvement of healthcare and patient management in the developing countries of the African continent.

Clinical Imaging 2024 May 11
INTRODUCTION: Africa is the second-largest continent on Earth in terms of both size and population. However, inaccessibility and shortfall of trained radiologists impede the delivery of adequate healthcare to such a large population. Teleradiology holds considerable potential in improving patient outcomes and healthcare delivery in African nations by furnishing timely interpretation of radiological examinations, particularly in those areas where there is a particular scarcity of radiologists. The aim of the present study was to assess the impact of teleradiology in the improvement of healthcare and patient management in the developing countries of the African continent.

METHODS: In this retrospective study, from January 2017 and December 2022, the scans of a cohort of patients from eight African countries were uploaded to the teleradiology cloud server and interpreted by board certified radiologists empanelled by a teleradiology service provider.

RESULTS: The telehealth model proposed in the study was seen to provide timely and quality reporting of 58,223 scans of 39,513 patients with a mean turn-around-time (TAT) of 2.46 h 95 % CI (2.44-2.48).

DISCUSSION: A dedicated teleradiology model designed in this study allowed the interpretation and analysis of the scans of the cohort of patients from hospitals in African countries by teleradiologists via high quality DICOM-image transfer over a cloud-based platform. The outcomes of our investigation reflect that teleradiology provides an effective solution for early diagnosis/interpretation of examinations performed in Africa. Further, the currently proposed teleradiology model may be used for other developing countries across the world to improve quality of care.

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