Teleradiology System The Ministry

Introduction

Teleradiology is the use of specialized software to transmit images of the internal structure of the body and functions over network connections such as telephone, internet, computer clouds and local area networks LAN. These images are transmitted to enable access to specialized care especially from subspecialist radiologists who are miles away from the location of the patient. This is especially important as it solves the problem that hospitals located in remote areas face as a result of most radiologists being located in metropolitan areas. (Ranschaert & Binkhuysen, 2013) It also enables consultation and collaboration between radiologists during emergency situations. The practice of teleradiology is however not established in Saudi Arabia and therefore needs to be introduced. (Ahmed & Aldosh, 2014)The implementation of this change can be achieved by effective leadership and through the Lewin’s model of change as illustrated below. (Giltin, 1986)

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The Kurt Lewin’s model consists of three stages, unfreezing, moving and refreezing. In the unfreezing stage communication is needed to show the general population and the practicing radiologists the importance of changing from the “traditional” method of practice to teleradiology. (Baulcomb, 2003)This includes making them aware that this will enhance and improve the care of patients and will also eliminate the need of one’s physical presence for work to be accomplished. Thus it will create a flexible work environment. It will also ensure that the demand of radiologists can meet the supply available. The hospitals will also reduce their expenditure on wages as the radiologists need not spend many hours working from the hospital. (Bridgeman & Brown, 2016)

In this stage of change management transformational leadership is required which can be achieved by asking the few radiologists who are already practicing teleradiology create vision and to inspire other radiologist to practice the same. (Johannesen-schmidit & Engen, 2003)

The second stage in the model is move. This stage which comes after an overall understanding of the proposed change involves the implementation of the change. This stage is a relative ly difficult one as people are now hit by the reality of the proposed change. (Shirey, 2013) It therefore requires that people are given enough time to adjust to the change happening about them. They should be supported as they deal with the new realities of how things are done. There should also be a constant reminder of the benefits that this change will bring to the health practice within the country. (Giltin, 1986)

The third stage of the model is refreezing. Since change has been brought about in the second step, we now need to ensure this change is cemented and that people do not turn back to their former ways of doing things. (Giltin, 1986) This can be achieved through the transactional leadership style where those hospitals and individuals who practice teleradiology are acknowledged and rewarded. Thus more people who may have not been convinced in the earlier steps may come on board with the intention of being rewarded. (Johannesen-schmidit & Engen, 2003)

In the implementation of change there are both internal and external factors that must be considered. The internal factors include; the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are involved in the process. (SWOT) The strengths outline the benefits brought about by the change. The weaknesses identify the loopholes in the existing way in which things are done while the opportunities factor brings solutions to these weaknesses and lastly threats analyze any factors that may hinder the realization of the change. (Scholten & Wijk, 2012)

External factors analyze the political goodwill, the economic, social, Technological, Legal and environmental factors. (PESTLE) Among these the technological factor which analyzes the availability of the relevant technologies and the level of innovation in the country is key because this process involves a lot of technological requirements. The legal factor is of importance since sharing of information involving patient medical conditions may have legal consequences. Social factors must able considered as this will involve cultural consequences. (Scholten & Wijk, 2012)

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Conclusion

In conclusion the implementation of teleradiology is important in Saudi Arabia as it would lead to better healthcare management. This implementation can however be achieved only by the proper application of a change model in this the Lewin’s model under transformational and transactional leadership at the unfreezing and the defreezing stages of the model respectively. Internal and external analysis must also be carried out as the play a critical role in the process of change.

References

  • Gitlin, J. N. (1986). Teleradiology. Radiologic Clinics of North America, 24(1), 55-68.
  • Gitlin, J. N. (1986). Teleradiology. Radiologic Clinics of North America, 24(1), 55-68.
  • Cummings, S., Bridgman, T., & Brown, K. G. (2016). Unfreezing change as three steps: Rethinking Kurt Lewin’s legacy for change management. Human relations, 69(1), 33-60.
  • van Wijngaarden, J. D., Scholten, G. R., & van Wijk, K. P. (2012). Strategic analysis for health care organizations: the suitability of the SWOT‐analysis. The International journal of health planning and management, 27(1), 34-49.
  • Goldberg, M. A. (1996). Teleradiology and telemedicine. Radiologic Clinics of North America, 34(3), 647-665.
  • Ranschaert, E. R., & Binkhuysen, F. B. (2013). European teleradiology now and in the future: results of an online survey. Insights into imaging, 4(1), 93-102.
  • Ahmed, M. E., & Aldosh, M. S. (2014). Telemedicine and Teleradiology in Saudi Arabia. IOSR Journal of Dental and Medical Sciences (IOSR-JDMS), 13(2).
  • Thrall, J. H. (2007). Teleradiology Part I. History and clinical applications. Radiology, 243(3), 613-617.
  • Baulcomb, J. S. (2003). Management of change through force field analysis. Journal of nursing management, 11(4), 275-280.
  • Shirey, M. R. (2013). Lewin’s theory of planned change as a strategic resource. Journal of Nursing Administration, 43(2), 69-72.

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