During the acute stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of my clients that are academic departments of medical schools with residency training programs found the need to accommodate remote work patterns. Fortunately, there has been some regulatory flexibility in place to allow such remote clinical services, but that is ending -- or at least I assumed so. My expectation has been that most academic radiologists eventually would return to mostly on-site clinical and teaching duties.
An essay in the latest issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology makes the case for ongoing remote services by some faculty members of academic departments. The authors argue that ongoing teleradiology services by academic radiology departments will not only allow flexibility in clinical schedules, but will also permit use of technology to give faculty the option to continue to remotely review cases one on one with radiology trainees, engage in video consultations with clinical services, attend and participate in multidisciplinary conferences, and present lectures and case conferences to trainees and students as they have done when not remote to the medical center.
Is this practice pattern that some academic departments will choose to adopt going forward? Of course, recruitment and retention of radiologists is particularly challenging these days, even for academic medical centers. Will academic departments offer faculty more teleradiology-practice options in order to appeal to potential and current faculty if that model will help them maintain a sufficient number of radiologist sub-specialists to support the departments' clinical and teaching responsibilities?