July 12, 2013 | Auntminnie.com

The advent of teleradiology has changed the way radiology is practiced, disrupting the exclusive business arrangements between hospitals and their radiology groups and opening the market to competition. A new consulting firm called Accountable Radiology Advisors (ARA) hopes to help groups make the transition to the new reality.

ARA was established in April by Teri Yates and colleagues Dawn Harris-McClain and Kimberly Luse; Yates has previously served as chief quality and risk officer at Radisphere National Radiology Group and as vice president of sales and marketing at ProScan Imaging.

"We want hospitals and their radiology groups to become more competitive, reduce their liability risk, and succeed together," Yates toldAuntMinnie.com.

Teri Yates from Accountable Radiology Advisors.

ARA works with clients to identify weaknesses in the quality and safety of the radiology service they provide — and this is one of the factors that sets it apart, according to Yates.

"There are lots of healthcare consultants out there and a number who consult in radiology, but mostly around workflow or technology issues," she said. "We don't know of other radiology consultants who focus on the quality piece of the picture."

Radiology groups have always viewed their hospital's needs through a service lens, and most do a good job providing that service. But because it has traditionally been difficult for hospitals to change radiology groups, some practices have gotten complacent, according to Yates. The emergence of national radiology groups upset the status quo and sparked dialogue about quality in radiology.

"The disruptive nature of these groups is stimulating change, and talking about quality in radiology is good for patients," she said. "The reality is, if radiology groups don't meet the legitimate needs of their hospitals, they're setting themselves up to be eliminated."