BACKGROUND: Teleradiology was implemented across South Africa, to provide reporting
services to rural healthcare institutes without a radiologist. This is guided by standard
operating procedure manuals (SOP) which standardise the quality of services provided. From
observation, end users, namely, the radiographer and referring clinician, experience challenges
in fulfilling the roles extending beyond the SOP.
AIM: To explore the end users’ experiences within this context and the impact it has on service
SETTING: A rural district in North West province, South Africa.
METHOD: This was a qualitative, exploratory, descriptive study. Focus group discussions were
held with radiographers and referring clinicians from the teleradiology site in the North West
province. A one-on-one interview was conducted with a private radiologist at the reporting
site in Gauteng. An interview guide was used to ask open-ended questions to address the aim
of the study.
RESULTS: At the teleradiology site, radiographers and referring clinicians are performing
extended roles, not described in the teleradiology service-level agreement (SLA) and felt
poorly equipped to fulfil these roles. They also felt that the private radiologists needed training
on interprofessional collaboration to understand the challenges facing health professionals at
these rural sites.
CONCLUSION: SLA’s should align with the clinical needs and practices of the district. This
should guide the specific training needs of the end users practicing in rural areas, to support
their extended roles in the teleradiology setting. Training should be in-house, ongoing and
consistent to cater for the influx of health professionals entering the rural setting using