Patients have a right to their images inexpensively
BARRINGTON, Ill., May 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Radiology has become the number one diagnostic tool in medicine today; unfortunately its costs have also spiraled to the number one ranking as a result. More patients are being sent to radiology than ever before as the most complete and reliable method for clinical investigation and diagnosis. For a patient with lower back pain an MRI may confirm a suspected herniated disc or prove no anatomical reason for pain, resulting in entirely different treatment protocols. In these circumstances, patients need to have control of these studies in order that they may share the results with appropriate healthcare specialists throughout their care path.
Most patients don't know it's their right to receive the following in a timely manner (typically within 72 hours) after a radiological exam:
- A copy of the radiology report- the findings of the radiologist or diagnosis
- A copy of the images- usually on film or CD, however the cloud is becoming a more common option.
"Many facilities aren't willing to give patients this access, let alone provide a portal to share this vital information with referred physicians. This may become at minimum an inconvenience, but could delay care or increase expense for patients," said Tim Kelley, CEO of Nautilus Medical. He went on to discuss how most patients don't understand their rights and have more control over the information and images that dictate their healthcare than they realize.
The portability and exchange of images has become important due to the increasingly fine segmentation of specialism in healthcare along with rising costs. HIPAA laws protect the privacy of patients; importantly the "P" in "HIPAA" stands for portability - the ability of patients to move between different providers and insurers and having their personal information protected. "Who better to protect their own information than the patient themselves?" posed Mr. Kelley.
Patient empowerment is one of many reasons for the rising demand for patient access and cloud-based patient portals. However, providers often cite the concern that providing patients with access to medical images they are likely not qualified to understand could lead to the problem of 'self-diagnosis'. Yet, in a study published last spring in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, North Carolina, found that 79.2% of adult outpatients surveyed at an imaging center would use an electronic portal to receive diagnostic results and images, especially if they could have them immediately. Patients indicated they would use educational resources online to better understand the reports, resulting in more informed patients.
Nautilus Medical has developed software that allows hospitals and imaging facilities to immediately send images and reports directly to patients in the most secure and completely HIPAA compliant manner for onward delivery to appropriate care providers. The software facilitates the viewing, transfer and sharing of radiological images in full diagnostic fidelity between medical facilities and family. With the free download of Nautilus Medical's MatrixRay by both sender and recipient of studies, complete control is placed in patient's hands while reducing significant cost to the institution by eliminating CDs, storage, implementation costs and added fees which have become standard for electronic exchange providers. Including all expenses, CDs cost about $10 each to hand to a patient. Mr. Kelley added, "We have over 1000 sites using our free software. Now patients can experience a new level of control with the ability to receive their studies directly from the provider."