Medical Imaging Blog

Medical Image Sharing a Work in Progress

Medical imaging sharing as slow as a tortoise

Sharing medical imaging reduces unnecessary medical imaging scans resulting in substantial savings for the healthcare system.  Sharing medical imaging also minimizes patient radiation exposure. While medical imaging sharing has a slew of benefits, some healthcare providers are hesitant to implement a medical imaging sharing program. According to a study published by Chilmark Research in January 2012, as of the fourth quarter of 2011, just 43 percent of healthcare providers were using medical imaging-share technology.

The Time is Now to Share Medical Imaging

Being that the technology is available to reduce repeat medical imaging, radiologist Sam Friedman writes that the inability to share medical imaging–and therefore eliminate unnecessary medical imaging–is “completely unacceptable,” and approaches malpractice.

“Let’s all do something about it,” Friedman said. “Talk to the radiologists, the IT folks, the clinicians. The time has come to fix this very fixable problem.”

RSNA Medical Imaging Share Project

There are some good signs, however. Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Image Share is a healthcare IT network created to enable radiologists to share medical imaging with patients using personal health record (PHR) accounts. Image Share is a pilot project, funded by the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and administered by RSNA. This medical imaging project is now being used by patients at medical centers across the U.S.

Image Share gives patients control over their medical imaging and radiology reports. They can create a secure online personal medical history and securely share medical imaging and related information with care providers.

Patients Want Shared Medical Imaging

Even though implementation of medical image sharing has been slow, patients want access to the technology. According to a recent study conducted by IDR Medical, an international healthcare marketing company, the overwhelming majority of patients would like to have Internet-based access to their medical imaging and reports. By accessing their medical imaging results, they can easily share their files with other physicians and provide an expedient way to access and store their individual and family medical imaging records.

Being a ‘Sharer’ has benefits.  While 85% of 1,000 adults surveyed said they would like to view their medical imaging through an online patient portal, patient satisfaction and behavior also comes into play. The data indicates that sharing breeds high levels of customer loyalty. The survey found that 79% of patients indicated that if they had access to their medical imaging they would more likely return to that same facility and a further 76% reported they would recommend the medical imaging facility to a friend.

Is your hospital a tortoise or a hare? How is your organization sharing medical imaging with your patients?

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Todd Malone

Todd Malone previously worked as a Product Manager at the McKesson Enterprise Medical Imaging group in Vancouver. He focused on the support needs of Radiology, Cardiology and Document Management customers and came to the healthcare industry with experience with maintenance and support of complex software systems in the aerospace, newspaper and nuclear power generation industries.

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