March 7, 2011 – A strategic alliance has been announced that will give an Illinois radiology practice access to subspecialists and next-generation technology. Lakeland Radiologists will merge with an affiliated medical practice of Virtual Radiologic (vRad) and will be called Lakeland Radiology Alliance.

The collaboration also will give Lakeland facilities greater access to clinical data benchmarking and the shared expertise of more than 325 radiologists nationwide. Lakeland serves the Champaign/Urbana, Effingham and Danville areas.

Lakeland is a multi-site practice that has operated for more than 30 years. The practice currently has 15 radiologists serving four regional hospitals and numerous affiliated and freestanding clinics across 500 square miles.

"As we looked at growth of our practice and the changing landscape of the healthcare industry, we had to find more efficient ways to meet the increasing demands for our services," said Aldo Ruffolo, Lakeland's medical director. "We had been providing traditional onsite radiology for years, which was becoming increasingly challenging in our broad geography without a fully integrated teleradiology solution. We had three different PACS systems and needed a unified worklist across all sites with access to subspecialty coverage, especially for our smaller critical-access hospital customers."

While weighing the cost and associated risk of new technology and additional staffing, Lakeland approached vRad initially for the Enterprise Connect technology, the core platform vRad uses to manage and read more than 7 million studies annually from 2,700 facilities. The technology is especially beneficial to a practice such as Lakeland, where radiologists work across disparate systems in different facilities separated by many miles and precious minutes.

"vRad's technology will help improve communications to hospitals, practices and patients," Ruffolo said. "We were excited to join vRad as an alliance partner to improve and grow our practice."

For more information: www.vrad.com

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