Original Research

Radiologists’ experiences and perceptions regarding the use of teleradiology in South Africa

Renata Schoeman, Mario Haines
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 27, No 1 | a2647 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajr.v27i1.2647 | © 2023 Renata Schoeman, Mario Haines | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 January 2023 | Published: 31 August 2023

About the author(s)

Renata Schoeman, Department of Leadership, University of Stellenbosch Business School, Bellville, South Africa
Mario Haines, Department of Healthcare Leadership, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Stellenbosch Business School, Bellville, South Africa; and, Diagnostic Radiologist, Private Practice, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Teleradiology was implemented in South Africa in 1999, but the subsequent uptake was low and slow. The onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic catapulted South African healthcare into the arena of teleradiology. This created the environment for re-examining the factors that enable or inhibit the uptake of teleradiology in both the public and private sectors.

Objectives: This article reports on a study of a select sample of private and public sector radiologists’ experiences with, and perceptions of, the benefits, opportunities, challenges and barriers to the implementation of teleradiology in the South African context.

Method: Qualitative data on the perceived benefits and challenges of teleradiology, as well as on its enablers and the barriers to its implementation, were collected and analysed.

Results: The uptake of teleradiology in the sample increased by 15.9% during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results demonstrated that teleradiology was perceived to have clear benefits on operational, personal and societal levels.

Conclusion: It is important to address structural barriers to the implementation of teleradiology. Clear communication strategies and multistakeholder engagement are also required.

Contribution: By investigating radiologists’ experience with teleradiology, this study provides an understanding of the benefits, opportunities, challenges and barriers to implementation of services. These insights enable informed decision-making and stakeholder engagement and provide a foundation for establishing recommendations for the viable implementation of teleradiology in South Africa and other lower- and middle-income countries to promote access to healthcare.


Keywords

teleradiology; benefits; challenges; opportunities; barriers; impact; radiologists; perceptions; LMIC; South Africa

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