Smartphones are Changing the Way Patients Access Medical Images
Smartphones are modernizing the traditional medical imaging practice. Patients no longer leave their appointment carrying a CD, which will inevitably be lost or forgotten by the time they need it for their next appointment. Now, they simply login to their secure online portal and pull up their image whenever and wherever it's needed. For providers who are considering adopting this new method of imaging delivery, we have some thoughts for you.
First things first: Do you have an onsite PACS or a cloud-based PACS (or both)? Like most tools you use on your smartphone or tablet, delivering remote access to medical imaging requires cloud-based storage. This enables the user, whether that is you, your patient, or their referring physician to access the DICOM file whenever and wherever it's needed.
Moving Away From an On-Site PACS
It should be no surprise that on-site solutions restrict you to where and how you can access your patient’s medical imaging. For instance, if you are using a hospital PACS you are probably looking at a solution that will only allow you to access images from local viewings stations within the hospital premises. That means to do a read and make a diagnosis, you have to be available and present at the building. On-site solutions also pose the greatest risk to your business - permanent data loss. On-site solutions are not redundant. They do not offer the ability to que up your data at various locations. So, if your business is victim to a robbery, fire, or any other man-made or natural disaster, you can expect permanent data loss and possible lawsuits ahead.
Moving away from on-site storage is essential for delivering patient imaging by mobile device. You must have a cloud-based PACS in order to provide remote access to medical imaging. Plus, it's just wise business practice to have back-up cloud-based storage.
Delivering Patient Access
It's no secret that patients value convenience when it comes to healthcare. In fact, more and more patients opt for urgent care facilities over the traditional primary care physician simply for the sake of convenience (and cost). Knowing this, providers who deliver patient imaging in the easiest way possible truly have an advantage.
We could go on and on about the evils of burning CDs to deliver copies of your patients' medical imaging. In fact, we've written extensively about it in our blog over the years. Simply put: CDs are bulky, expensive, inefficient, outdated and clearly despised by everyone in the process from the staff person who burns them, the patient, and their referring physician.
Today, you have a more cost-efficient, convenient alternative: mobile patient imaging delivery. Your patients can leave your office with a personal login to a web-based platform to view and share their medical images. They can pull this up on any device with an internet browser, including their desktop computer, laptop, a tablet or iPad, and of course, their smartphones. Once they've logged in, they can simply click "share," to send a secure email with a link to the image file to their referring physician or subspecialist. The recipient can then pull the image up with an embedded full-function viewer or view the image on their own medical image viewer.
Sharing - This solution allows you to go paperless and CD-less. Patients can easily access, view and share their images with their referring physician or specialist with a simple click of a button.
Access - Your patients can access their images anytime, anywhere, and from any device with internet access. They will have access as long as they need it, without having to keep track of a shoe-box full of old medical imaging CDs. Additionally, you no longer have to worry about creating duplicate CDs if the original becomes lost or damaged (or worse, stolen), saving you money in the long run.
Mobility - Your patients require the ability to get their medical images to their referring physician or a subspecialist, whether that's in the same town where they had their scan done or not. Plus, you never know when you might need a copy of a prior scan should you require medical care while on vacation or away from home. Having access to their images on their smartphone makes this process seamless for the patient, as well as their physicians.
Smartphones are changing healthcare delivery for the good, bridging the technological gap between providers and their patients and improving outdated processes. They make communication more convenient, while also eliminating unnecessary costs and administrative labor. Medical imaging providers benefit especially in regards to increased patient satisfaction and lowered costs. To take advantage of all the benefits patient imaging delivery by smartphone can offer, contact us today for a complimentary consultation!