Are your patients demanding better access to their medical imaging? If they aren't yet, they will be soon. While many patients may not yet be aware that there are better ways to access their studies, changing insurance and healthcare landscapes are putting pressure on patients to play a greater role in controlling their own destiny when it comes to their medical records.
That said, when you're undergoing a PACS upgrade, the ability to easily share medical images with your patients likely hasn't historically been your top priority. It's maybe been a "nice to have" instead of a need. Issues such as electronic health record (EHR) integration and mobile access are paramount for most organizations, with electronic medical image sharing several steps behind.
However, online image sharing is an underrated feature that is growing in demand and has the potential to make both you and your patients very happy. Why is that exactly? Read on to find out.
Patients Don't Have to Work As Hard
Have you ever gotten a call from a patient or doctor looking for help viewing images off a CD? Now more than ever, doctors' offices are having to play IT support and it's taking up too much staff time.
Patients will love online image sharing because viewing the images is quick and straightforward. If their images are on a CD, they might lose or damage the CD or have problems with the viewing software. This often results in confused calls to doctors' offices asking for technical help, which employees don't have the time or expertise to provide. From a patient experience perspective, don't make things difficult when they could be seamless.
Additionally, online medical image sharing isn't bound to a physical medium. If your patients lose track of their access number, they can find it again with a quick phone call. They no longer have to wait for another CD to be created and sent out, which has both time and manufacturing costs for you. Patients can continue to receive care and don't have to worry about losing their medical imaging; it's always available in the cloud.
Patients Will Like You More
Technological barriers like physical CDs make it harder for patients to look at a report and see what's going on. Giving patients easier access to their DICOM medical images makes them feel like they have more control over their care. With online medical image sharing, patients can be more involved in their body and their health, helping them understanding their diagnoses better and what it all means for them.
In turn, by making this information available at any time and from anywhere, your practice will form stronger connections with patients. In essence, you're delivering an amazing benefit that patients can view and take with them throughout their medical care. Whether your patients realize it consciously or not, if you go above and beyond their expectations, and provide them with that level of trust and responsibility by giving access to their imaging studies, they will remember you and have that connection with you as a valued care provider.
Operational Efficiency Still Matters
Although the above benefits are very real for your patients, making them happy shouldn't have to be accomplished at the expense of operational efficiency. That's the beauty of electronic image sharing. By integrating it into your practice, efficiency actually improves as office managers no longer have to burn CDs, saving time and minimizing the considerable room for human error related to CDs ending up in the wrong patient's hands. It also allows practices to save on the cost of ink, CDs and equipment repairs to expensive CD publishers. Electronic medical image sharing turns out to be a rare win-win for both practices and patients.
Ultimately, online medical image sharing provides transparency for patients. It helps establish trust and shows you are willing to deliver that extra level of care patients need and desire. The best part is that adding electronic image sharing to your practice is easy. There is no need to disrupt your current workflows. Its something that experienced technicians can painlessly implement in short order, allowing you to provide a greatly improved patient experience. In the long-run, you will reap the rewards of retained and new customers as a result of your superior customer service.