CHARLESTON, WV -- A health care startup headquartered in Hurricane is reducing the cost of X-rays for patients who can't get to a doctor or hospital. It is also cutting the turnaround time for X-ray results from days to minutes.
OnSite Digital Radiology Services began offering mobile X-ray services in the Charleston and Huntington markets last spring.
Richard Pulcrano, president and chief executive officer, said OnSite is the first provider of mobile direct radiography technology in West Virginia.
Pulcrano said the way X-rays are traditionally done in nursing homes and residences is to take the machine to the patient, get an image and then transport the image to a location where it is processed and reviewed. It is then sent to the health care provider who ordered it.
OnSite Digital uses a combination of mobile digital imaging equipment and wireless communications to speed the process.
The company has a fleet of vans in the region. Each is staffed with a radiological technologist and is equipped with portable digital imaging equipment, a global positioning system, or GPS, and wireless access to the Internet.
Say a doctor gets called to a nursing home to see a patient and orders a chest X-ray. The nurse calls OnSite's central dispatch center. The dispatcher uses GPS to determine which OnSite Digital van is closest to the nursing home and tells the nurse how many minutes it will take for the van to get there.
When the van arrives the technologist takes the imaging equipment to the patient, takes the X-ray and wirelessly transmits the image to Radiology Inc. in Huntington.
At Radiology Inc., a board-certified radiologist reviews the image and provides an expert medical opinion of any normal or abnormal patient anatomy. This interpretation is then sent immediately to the attending physician and client.
Pulcrano said, "Stat [without delay] images are usually available within 5 minutes and routine images within 15 minutes. The final report is automatically faxed directly to the facility or the physician.
"If they want to look at images later, they can go into our secured website," he said. "They each have a user name and password so they can look at images that are specific to their patients."