Physicians' offices and health care organizations are extremely busy, flooded with questions from patients and suppliers about issues with appointments, prescriptions and health insurance, among other things. Thus, a common question physicians considering an update to their current medical imaging platform might ask is:
"Who supports my patients if I switch to a cloud picture archiving and communication system (PACS)?"
Physicians sometimes balk at the prospect of utilizing electronic image access, believing that they will have to provide support for patients on a third-party system, long after a patient has left their facility and is no longer billable.
Having to interrupt a busy schedule with support requests also would be problem and a distraction for the physician. In reality, however, this support is provided by most top tier cloud PACS vendors who offer electronic patient access.
Despite this reluctance, experience has proven that making it easier for patients to obtain access to their medical images does not increase the burden on the physician or the health care facility and is a much cheaper, easier and patient satisfying alternative.
With a cloud-based PACS, this can usually be easily facilitated.
But What About Your Tech-Challenged Patients?
While granting your patients electronic access may be easier for you, what about those perhaps older patients who are not as familiar with using a computer? If your patients hardly know how to use the internet, how can they be expected to access their studies through a computer?
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Often the technical support for your patient will be the burden of your PACS vendor, who can walk the patient through the process of accessing their images. In fact, should something go wrong with the information you provided to the patient - a typo or misspelling for instance - the vendor should be able to help with that as well.
But even if your patients do not have their own computer, they can bring the information provided by your office directly to their doctor who requires access and he or she can follow simple instructions for accessing the images electronically.
What About the Referring Physicians?
PACS vendors are able to provide support to other physicians who are given access to your patient's electronic records. This is especially important for urgent care facilities who are quite likely to have to share images with the patient's specialist or general practitioner.
Similar to the patient, recipient physicians can usually get support directly from the PACS vendor without interrupting the clinic or facility where the image was taken.
While burning CDs and DVDs may seem like an "easier" solution, it is often more expensive and often creates more issues than providing electronic access to medical images.
If you choose the right PACS vendor, sending your patients a link to their images should be much easier than burning a CD or DVD and providing this to the patient when they check out. In addition, because the images are stored electronically, the issue of lost, forgotten or damaged studies is nonexistent.
Cloud-based medical image sharing is less costly and more efficient. In addition, when you choose the right PACS vendor, the pain and burden of providing patients and referring physicians with additional support or headaches will disappear.