Radiology finds niche in eMarketplace
Online marketplaces provide solutions for manufacturers who have trouble finding new suppliers. For example, radiology would benefit from such a service because a number of European regions are currently faced with a shortage of radiologists, while others have too many. To cope with this, the EU is supporting a two-year market validation project, R-Bay, to create an eMarketplace for the purchase and sale of imaging-related eHealth services. The project, backed with EUR 949 759 in funding, will end in 2009.
R-Bay will be instrumental in establishing an internal market for exchanging eHealth services. The upshot will be that healthcare resources will be shared within a pan-European scope. According to the project partners, eRadiology can be used to offset the inequality of the number of radiologists. B-Ray will be able to extend eRadiology through the expansion of an eMarketplace.
In the conventional sense, eRadiology uses 'point-to-point' connections, also known as tele-radiology, to serve providers and clients. Therein lies the problem: there is a limit to the number of providers and level of expertise available in the various regions.
Through R-Bay, the eMarketplace would offer regions a 'many-to-many' connection, characterised as a commodity brokering and exchange of radiology services, the project partners say.
R-Bay has set its sights on developing the first European virtual and secure exchange for the provision and consumption of radiology services based on the terms of the market.
Under the project, eight sites will market validate image processing and analysis methods based on a 'pay per-click' model, explains the team, which consists of research institutions, healthcare officials and providers, and market development experts.
The technical infrastructure provider Carestream Health is also participating in this project. Their radiology and information management solutions are driving the initial test platform for the project by making remote reporting of images simpler in Czech, Danish and Finnish hospitals by clinical providers in Estonian, Lithuania and the Netherlands.
'Carestream Health has wide experience in system integration and the interoperability issues associated with implementing national and regional solutions,' said Ulf Andersson, Director of Marking, Europe North, Carestream Health. 'As part of the R-Bay project, these solutions will ultimately help to better distribute radiologist resources to offer all patients in Europe the opportunity to access optimal medical care through pan-European imaging services.'
The R-Bay team is hopeful that the project will help advance healthcare working environments across Europe by making specialist capacity more equally accessible, as well as by creating new business models and streams for health services. R-Bay will also tackle the brain drain problem in eastern Europe with the surplus of radiologists found elsewhere. At the end of the day, Europeans will have equal access to optimal medical care, the partners say.