New KLAS Report Examines Effects of Recent Consolidation on Teleradiology Market and Vendor Performance
Changes in the teleradiology landscape offer vendors new opportunities for growth, as well as opportunities to improve service and focus more on provider needs
Nearly a year ago Virtual Radiologic (vRad) announced their acquisition of NightHawk-the largest teleradiology firm in the U.S. Since that time, teleradiology customers have been questioning how the acquisition would affect them and the market. To better understand the impact, KLAS embarked on a new teleradiology study called Teleradiology Services 2011: Times are Changing.
\"The NightHawk acquisition directly affected the largest customer base of teleradiology,\" explained Emily Crane, director of teleradiology research at KLAS and author of the recent report. \"Many NightHawk customers have reported challenges with turnaround times, and reading physicians have struggled with the transition to vRad's technology since the acquisition. Additionally, vRad was ranked number one in the 2010 teleradiology report, Teleradiology Study 2010: A detailed read on the market, but with the pressure of bringing in NightHawk customers, vRad's performance scores have slipped. Most of the long-time vRad customers report being relatively happy and appear willing to ride out the storm. That said, almost half of the former NightHawk customers are looking for other options.\"
Those customers who are moving on from NightHawk are looking at some of the smaller vendors also included in the 2011 study. In particular, StatRad, one of the regional vendors in the west, is on the radar of many providers across the U.S. in need of a new teleradiology vendor. Along with StatRad, other smaller vendors are expanding their presence. ONRAD has grown to be a national vendor this year while maintaining their consistent high performance. Rays, who is known for their top notch service and excellent turnaround times, has also gained some business outside of their typical Southeast region with customers validated in every region of the US.
Unlike other regional vendors looking to expand, Imaging On Call (IOC) has actually pulled back its expansion plans to focus on their Northeast regional customer base. While their overall performance score has improved over the past year, it is still below the scores of other regional vendors in this report. IOC was acquired by RadNet earlier this year, and the additional resources may have also helped IOC improve customer satisfaction.
\"Turnaround times surfaced as a more critical and top of mind issue this year; in fact, much of a vendor's success hinged on the speed of their turnaround times,\" said Crane. \"Teleradiology Solutions (TRS) has the quickest prelim turnaround times of the four nationally ranked vendors and is the number one ranked vendor for 2011. With the efforts TRS has made to improve, it is no surprise that their customers are more satisfied and their scores have moved up in the rankings.\"
Most vendors' turnaround times are within a couple of minutes of each other, but Radisphere, who focuses on final and specialty reads, had much slower turnaround times. However, Radisphere appears able to manage customer expectations, for the most part, and keep customer satisfaction ratings steady.
Early findings for AltaVista and USTeleradiology were included in the report, but due to a limited sample size were not ranked. Even though USTeleradiology's sample size is small, they do have customers nationwide. Other smaller vendors--such as Aris Teleradiology, Epic Teleradiology, and Sunset Radiology--did not have enough presence in the market to be included in the report.
To learn more about the teleradiology market, including the strengths and weaknesses of the measured vendors and the overall rankings of the vendors in this market space, the report Teleradiology Services 2011: Times are Changing is available to healthcare providers for a significant discount off the standard retail price.