How to Use Medical Images as a Litigation Tool

Hand about to bang gavel on sounding block in the court room

Everyone knows that litigation is an expensive process. Both the costs of engaging in litigation as well as the growing size of judgements are adding to the precision required when it comes to trail preparation and court appearances. Medical malpractice and personal injury claim awards in the US are soaring into double digit millions of dollars. 

Increasingly, we are seeing medical images front and center in these as well as even criminal trials. Often there is no better way to sway a jury than to show them a scanned image of an injury, a botched medical procedure or path of a bullet. Descriptions from expert witnesses are important. But a picture is worth a couple of thousand words – or maybe more.

How to Show Medical Images in the Courtroom
It used to be that in order to display a medical image for litigation in a trial, the attorneys had to set up a light box and carry bulky films to their trials. These were hard to transport and, perhaps even more importantly, hard to see. But medical imaging technology has improved well past those days. Just like photography, most medical images are now digital, enabling an expansive set of available options.

Images can be displayed on large screens both within and outside of the court room. They can be shown colorfully in three dimensions with animation and annotations. They can be printed in high resolution. And, images can even be turned into three dimensional models with today’s new 3-D printers.

How Cloud Access to Medical Images for
Litigation Can Help With Legal Preparation

But before all this happens, preparations must be painstakingly made. Prior to getting to trial, medical images for litigation are often used as the basis for an expert witness testimony. Quickly and efficiently getting images into experts’ “hands” is a challenge even in the digital world. And once the experts are chosen, ensuring they are able to fully brief the litigation attorney so the right questions can be asked is critically important. 

All this can be enabled today by a cloud-based PACS. With a cloud as the central storage location for a medical image, attorneys and their teams can all seamlessly and immediately gain access to a medical image without the delay of mailing bulky films or burning and shipping CDs that may or may not be readable when they arrive.

The right cloud environment can enable a real time synchronous review of the same medical image, with each participant able to see and manipulate the image at the same time, while discussing the results.

Using a cloud to store and access medical images for litigation can even be helpful when having to share discovery with the opposition. Providing opposing counsel with a credentialed login can make the process simpler and quicker.

Finally, the cloud is an efficient repository for exhibits that need to be retained pending appeal or perhaps just as a way to store the complete file from a trial.

In today’s high stakes litigation game, having the very latest tools available at your disposal is no longer a luxury. The use of a medical image cloud can be just the thing necessary to tip the scales of justice in your favor.

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