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Teleradiology to Private Practice and Back: Why I Returned to vRad

After residency, I was full of energy and had a solid plan: I’d work in private practice and take on a part-time job in teleradiology. At the time, vRad was great but in my mind, it was a means to an end—paying off my student loans. That arrangement worked very well, and through remote radiology I was debt-free in less than a year. With my goal accomplished I left vRad behind to focus on my private radiology practice.

A traditional private practice setting was a great fit for me. I loved doing radiology procedures, I was a partner, and I enjoyed the conferences and teaching. But things started to change and so did my perspective. Like many practices today, mine became exceptionally busy; after a few years it became clear that balancing the relentless workload and expectations of work with family life just wasn’t possible. I found myself thinking back to what it was like as a part-timer at vRad. Could it be more than a job? Could I make a career out of telerad?

The answer was yes! After six years in private practice, I’m back at vRad—full-time, burnout free, spending valuable time with my family, and actually earning more income. Remote radiology has changed my life and brought joy back into my work. I’ve spoken with many radiologists facing similar challenges at various radiology jobs, so I’d like to share my story.

Realities of private practice

Following the pandemic, the workload at many radiology practices became overwhelming, with unrelenting pressure from administration to read faster. I know many radiologists can relate; it's like being bombarded by an unceasing high-pressure hose and expected to catch every drop without missing a single one. Every day starts with a backlog, and constant interruptions make it impossible to catch up. Teaching responsibilities add to the stress and there’s simply no relief valve. In my case, the intensity caused one partner to literally walk out, leaving only two of us to handle on-call duties. Facing an unsustainable pace and wanting to avoid burnout so early in my career, I decided I had no choice but to put in my notice.

Reinvigorated—reflections on returning to vRad

Trying to compare private practice to vRad is like comparing apples to oranges, so if you're considering making a job switch (or perhaps returning as well), it's important to focus on what's most important to you. Here are a few of the biggest advantages of practicing teleradiology at vRad that have left me reinvigorated since my return.

Better case variety

I'm from a small town, so in private practice I would only see a limited number of case types. In contrast, every shift at vRad includes cases from a wide range of settings—from large, well-known university medical centers in urban settings to very small rural clinics. We receive diverse cases (>60% CT) covering a breadth of pathology, including many level-one traumas and bread-and-butter emergency radiology cases. This variety keeps my skills sharp and is professionally satisfying.

If this wide variety strikes you as daunting, rest assured. If I ever get a case I haven’t seen before, or just want that extra reassurance of looking at it with a colleague, I simply reach out using the consults tool on vRad’s reading platform. No matter the time of day, dozens of subspecialty-trained radiologists are on the job and willing to assist.

No more worklist pressure…hello bathroom breaks

You should be able to take a break when you need to, right? Unfortunately, the relentless volume across only a few rads in many practices makes this almost impossible. On a more serious note, it’s causing stress and burnout, not to mention patient safety concerns. But vRad has it figured out. The shared worklist and prioritization algorithms are truly incredible.

When I sign on to my shift, there isn’t an overwhelming list waiting that's my sole responsibility. Instead, I see a shared worklist, where cases are prioritized by patient need. The work can be done at my speed. If a case needs more time, there’s no pressure to read faster. I know those stroke cases are also on the worklists of many other remote radiologists, who will pick them up within minutes. I can work at my own pace. I can take breaks without guilt. I’m given the time and feel more confident in making what I call "micro-decisions"—the choices I make every day, and for every case, that could be hugely impactful to patients' lives.

Then, when my shift is over, I sign off. Guilt free—job done. It’s really that simple.

Increased earning potential

When moving from a salaried radiology position to a productivity-based pay model, there’s one element that’s going to make a substantial impact on your income—efficiency. Simply put, vRad is more efficient because of its platform and support team. Regardless of your pace, at vRad you can read more studies with less effort, earning more RVUs, which means you can make more money—potentially a lot more money.

There are also many opportunities to supplement your income at vRad. While I personally value the clear, defined schedule I have, there’s always an option to pick up extra shifts or extend my current ones if I'm looking to boost my earnings. Plus, because it’s all remote radiology, even those extra shifts are performed from my home.

Equitable case distribution

The shared worklist, which requires the most urgent cases be read first, has a personal benefit beyond patient care—it’s more equitable for the radiologists. Unlike in private practice, at vRad I'm compensated for the work I perform, not for covering for others. There’s no cherry-picking. There’s no reading twice as much as the next radiologist but getting paid the same. It’s a rewarding setup that eliminates the frustration that plagues other pay structures.

The reading platform is outstanding

Honestly, nothing else even compares. The vRad software and hardware include features you won't find anywhere else—features that make reading cases faster, more efficient, and of higher quality. And that makes for a much more enjoyable radiology experience for me.

I especially love the voice recognition and structured reporting software, which allows me to dictate the way I was trained. Then, with a click of button, I convert my findings into a beautifully structured report and impression. It’s far better than anything else I’ve used. In addition, the support for non-clinical work—like getting the ED physician on the phone or tracking down missing ultrasound worksheets—is unmatched.

While I enjoyed the vRad platform the first time, it’s even better six years later. It’s clear that targeted work has been done to improve the remote radiology experience and streamline the process, which speaks to how much the practice invests in their technology and radiologist experience. I encourage you to learn more about the vRad platform and support systems in place from of my colleagues.

Final thoughts

Radiology remains my passion, and much of that I can credit to making the switch back to vRad. I’m truly happy again, and it’s not just me who notices the difference. I asked my wife the other day, “I'm pretty chill now—way less stressed out, right?” She confirmed, “It's a million times better.”

I know it can seem like a big leap making the move from private practice to teleradiology, but it’s not as foreign as you might think. After trying out both, I can’t imagine practicing anywhere else.

If you’d like to learn more, start by speaking with one of our physician recruiters. They’re more like career consultants. They know the ins and outs of vRad and are experts in helping you determine if teleradiology is a good fit. Maybe even the best fit.


Author Lee McGill, MD

vRad radiologist



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