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Radiology-Readiness™A Framework for Developing Radiology in the Developing World 

   

 

Radiology Readiness™ Survey Demonstration

 

  RAD-AID has developed a concept called, Radiology-Readiness™ that has now been featured in Scientific American (click to read) and Journal of the American College of Radiology (click to download).  What does it mean to have Radiology-Readiness™ or to be radiology ready?  When it comes to developing nations, resources in health care are generally scarce while radiology equipment and imaging services are relatively expensive and require a well-trained team with coordinated components.  So, it makes sense to have other health care and infrastructural resources available before implementing radiology services into a medical or surgical context. That way, radiological imaging services can be best used and funds are not wasted on high technology when basic infrastructure is not present.

For example, does it make economic and health sense to have a chest radiograph machine for detecting pneumonias or tuberculosis (TB) if the clinic or country has no antibiotics for treating these diseases?  What electric power is necessary for these advanced medical imaging resources to be effective? If a mammogram program is implemented, will it be best utilized if there are no resources for doing biopsies of the masses found on the abnormal mammograms or if there are no surgeons to operate on the cancers?  

Therefore, “Radiology-Readiness™” involves the deployment of resources around radiology that makes the medical imaging an effective part of the health care delivery process to make the whole system work better.  With this basic concept in mind, some general criteria RAD-AID uses for assessing radiology readiness include: 

  1. Infrastructure of the community, such as roads and telecommunications 

  2. Availability, reliability, and technical parameters of energy for powering imaging equipment 

  3. Staffing availability of clinical care providers, nurses, and technicians with full assessment of referral systems and communication systems among general health care providers and specialists 

  4. Availability of antibiotics for treating diagnosed infections and vaccinations for preventing infections 

  5. Availability of resources for biopsy/surgery or referral to outside institutions for diagnostic pathology and treatment 

  6. Availability of laboratory testing that complements imaging findings

What if some criteria are not met by a country or limited-resource clinic?  RAD-AID helps that clinic or community to develop the resources necessary to become radiology-ready.  So, if the antibiotics are lacking and therefore limiting the usefulness of a chest x-ray machine, then RAD-AID works with partnered organizations to provide the antibiotics before implementing the imaging.  If the oncology resources for treating cancer are lacking, RAD-AID works to find those resources first before implementing a cancer screening program.  The goal is to optimize the use of imaging so that it strengthens a clinical health care environment to provide the best care and maximize the benefits of assistance programs.    

One important aspect of Radiology-Readiness™ is that not all radiology services have the same needs for making a clinic or community ready. For example, ultrasound is a portable machine that has lower power needs and has wide versatility in a limited resource region. A CT scanner is a larger, heavier, and more delicate piece of equipment, for which mobility is possible on a truck but may have more infrastructure requirements (roads, building, power supply) than a small ultrasound machine.  Therefore, Radiology-Readiness™ will vary by the type of equipment being considered as well as the clinical goals being pursued (infection treatment or cancer management). RAD-AID works hard to refine these parameters so that resources can be best used for modernizing and optimizing the world’s health care system.

RAD-AID recently engaged the World Health Organization's Pan American Health Organization (WHO/PAHO) in 2012 to upgrade the Radiology-Readiness Tool in the new technical partnership between our institutions.  This upgrade included further refinement to the survey contents as well as translation into Spanish (click here for Spanish version).  

   

Please visit the following links to view the RAD-AID Radiology Readiness™ survey.   If you would like to help us improve the Radiology Readiness™ survey, please leave your thoughts in the "Comments" box at the end of each section.  If you are from a developing nation and would like RAD-AID to perform a Radiology Readiness™ survey assessment of your health care facility, please contact us at info@rad-aid.org. The Radiology Readiness Tool is available in English (here) and Spanish (here). The following links are for development and demonstration purposes only.  

  1. Introduction to the RAD-AID Radiology Readiness Survey

  2. General and Background Information

  3. Community Involvement and Patient Satisfaction

  4. Clinical Specialties and Disease Epidemiology

  5. Patient Demographics, Capacity and Referral Patterns

  6. Clinical Tests

  7. Pharmaceutical Agents and other Clinical Consumables

  8. Human Resources

  9. Training and Continuing Medical Education

  10. Structural, Electrical, Climate Control, and Transportation Infrastructure

  11. Communications

  12. Information Technology

  13. Medical Imaging Capabilities and Limitations

  14. Medical Imaging Device Maintenance

  15. Patient Financial Issues

  16. Financial Infrastructure

  17. Funding of Medical Imaging Services