A charity linked to a Southeastern health carrier is helping rural hospitals transmit X-rays and other diagnostic images to distant radiologists.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation, Atlanta, has awarded grants for $80,000 each to 11 small, rural Georgia hospitals.

The hospitals will use the grants to buy “teleradiology” systems, to give their doctors the ability to get help interpreting diagnostic images from radiologists anywhere in the world.

Georgia Blue and the Georgia Department of Insurance began supporting a teleradiology pilot program at Georgia hospitals about a year ago. Since then, the program has resulted in about 10,000 patient encounters, according to the Georgia Blue foundation.

The hospitals sharing the new round of grants must be nonprofit hospitals with fewer than 150 beds and no full-time radiologists on-site.