I would love to say that gone are the days when patients would have to physically bring their film with them to appointments. However, I recently was watching a reality TV show (don’t judge) where the celebrity was driving to see a specialist with films of her cervical spine in the passenger seat. I was shocked. Her neck was badly injured, and she wasn’t wearing a brace. What if she had injured it more by having too much range of motion? What if the effects were irreversible? Instead of waiting for however many days, weeks, or even months to get that appointment and deliver the images in person, those images could have been shared instantly with the physician. That’s right - no film, no time sensitive concerns...no problem.
Go Green. Click Share.
Sharing medical images should really be considered a cornerstone in efficient healthcare practices. While having a patient hand deliver film is one way to share medical images, it is certainly not the most effective method out there. With a Cloud based solution you take back the power. You don’t have to rely on mail carriers or patients to get the medical images to you. If you have a Cloud based solution, such as a Referring Physician Portal in place, your imaging center uploads the images straight from the modality into their account, clicks the share button, and within moments you can access those MRIs, CTs...the list goes on. Let’s say that as a specialist, you want to share your patient’s images with another specialist or primary care physician. Presuming that those images were uploaded into your account from the modality, or perhaps shared with you by an imaging center or other physician with a Cloud solution, you just click the share button.
This share button takes all of the other media out of the question. You can be an imaging center, referring physician, specialist, or surgeon - you never have to worry about film, CDs, faxes, or flash drives ever again. Now, I’m sure you are wondering about the reliability of security as far as sharing images via the web goes. It’s true that you are in fact sending protected images through via the internet, and that is a scary thought to many people. However, with a proper Cloud solution, that fear is foiled. Sharing options should have an additional security layer to adhere to HIPAA, FDA, or any other local jurisdiction. So while anyone in the world can access these images, they must have the correct credentials to do so. Many vendors request a combination of the patient’s last name and identification number or date of birth. Others request a one time use secure code that is emailed to the recipient along with a combination of their name and other patient identification value. Hence, if the wrong person receives the invitation to view the images, they will not be able to access the information.
Here’s How It Works
While I can’t speak for all of the other vendors out there, I can for our Cloud based solution, Purview ViVA. So, just to give you an idea of how easy it is to share with the Cloud, here is a step by step tutorial of how it should look, if it is done right.
If you are associated with an imaging center, have them share the images with you. If you had your patient’s scans done in-house, upload them to your account. Remember, you don’t have to worry about the size of the files because nothing is being stored on your device. Everything is in the Cloud, a limitless, supremely secure, and most reliable filing cabinet.
Choose if you wish to 1) Copy and paste a secure viewer link or secure download link. 2) Share via email.
Note: You are given the option to share your link(s) with an additional layer of security. For instance, if you are a veterinarian, you don’t necessarily need to share images as protected health information. However, if you treat humans, you do. So you, as a physician, just have to click to send your images through a secure link where the recipient is required to manually enter in the patient’s date of birth and last name...or any other qualifying gated information.
It’s amazing how technology has made something that was once so cumbersome now so effortless. If you don’t see the ROI for your business, it’s quite simple. Avoiding films, CDs, and flash drives takes the time that your staff puts into burning the images out of the equation. Let’s say you are an imaging center. Well, those 10 minutes per patient add up. Just multiply the cost: 10 minutes x number of CDs burned by staff in one day. How about that multiplied by 7 days a week? Or 12 months a year? Depending on your numbers and use case, that cost could possibly equal another full time employee. Giving those 10 minutes back to your staff could imply getting one more scan in. Are you a physician? If so, consider a world where you don't have to stay at the office after hours to read an image that was just delivered. You don’t have worry about that CD not working on your equipment and having to cancel an appointment or surgery. Now, from what I’ve heard, surgeries can cost tens of thousands of USD. So if that isn’t a number worth taking a look at, I don’t know what is. Stop relying on third parties for critical data that is pertinent to you. Take the power back, and click on share.