Nighthawk companies provide interpretations of radiology studies done during off hours. These interpretations are done by board certified radiologists who focus their practice on emergency radiology. They often provide interpretations during the night when the regular on site hospital radiologists are no longer providing coverage.
These reads are accurate the majority of the time. This is especially true for emergent findings that need to be treated right away. They most commonly read studies from the emergency room followed by the hospital wards. They read studies of all kinds from X-rays to complex MRIs.
Usually these radiologists read a high volume of studies from multiple sites. They frequently read fast because emergency studies need a quick turnover time. Emergency physicians need to make quick treatment decisions. The patients are sick and need to be treated quickly.
The reads that the night hawk radiologists provide are preliminary readings most of the time. This means that the study will be read officially when the regular on-site radiologists start working in the morning. The night hawk radiologist will provide a report that forms the basis for patient treatment by your doctor. Everything from a brain stroke to appendicitis.
The nighthawk radiologists are board certified highly trained radiologists and provide accurate interpretations most of the time. Of course, no one is perfect and occasional oversights occur. Most frequently these are findings which can wait to be treated or need follow up sometime in the future.
Rarely, the finding missed is urgent. The delay is usually hours. If your in the hospital, then your physician will be called who will address the finding. If you’ve been discharged home, then you may be called back to the hospital or sent for treatment to another doctor.
The good thing about a nighthawk preliminary read is that you get two board certified radiologists reading your study. This increases the accuracy of the interpretation. The delay in treatment does not matter most of the time, in the few cases when an oversight occurs. The regular onsite radiologist will ensure that you get the correct diagnosis and prompt appropriate treatment.