What Is A Referring Physician Portal?

Posted by P. Varma on Oct 17, 2017 1:15:00 PM

What Is A Referring Physician Portal?

It doesn’t matter if you are a Referring Physician or an Imaging Center, a Referring Physician Portal could help clean up and speed up your workflow. A Referring Physician Portal is critical to the growth of your business. It applies to the diagnosis coming from the Radiologist at or via an Imaging Center, as well as the treatment plan that is typically made by the Referring Physician upon reading the diagnosis. So what is this portal, and why does it matter? Glad you asked!

As titles can vary around the world, let’s get on the same page as far as definitions go.

Referring Physician

Noun
  1. A General Practitioner or a Specialist requiring more information to start a treatment plan. To get further medical information, a Referring Physician will write a script to a patient to get one or more scans done at an Imaging Center.
  2. These scans, can then be transported from the Imaging Center to the Referring Physician via the Portal. If there is no Portal, the images are shared most likely via parceled CDs and DVDs

Imaging Center

Noun
  1. Location with modalities where medical scans are taken.
  2. Once the scans are ready, a Radiologist associated with the Imaging Center will read the images and make a report or summary of the diagnosis. From here, the Imaging Center sends the images and diagnostic report back to the Referring Physician who referred the patient for the scans.
  3. With a Referring Physician Portal, the Imaging Center can simply upload the images to be shared instead of mailing them out. 
Referring Physician Portal
Noun
  1. A Cloud based solution enabling the sharing, access, and mobility of medical images and records going from the Imaging Center directly to the Referring Physician without a hitch.
  2. With this solution, a Referring Physician can also collaborate in real time with a Radiologist or other specialist. 

So while a Referring Physician and Imaging Center are on opposite sides of the equation, they both work in conjunction to serve a critical purpose: finding answers to produce a diagnosis and treatment plan. A Referring Physician Portal is simply a medium by which the two parties can establish solid communication. The Portal is a Cloud based solution. So it implies that you have limitless storage of images as an Imaging Center and Referring Physician. Either party can pull up a prior study at any time without having to be frustrated by a physical hard drive that has limited space, and hence, may not even have the images in question. Instead of waiting for images to be shared, they can be made available instantly, without any hassle. It’s economical, and it's environmentally friendly.

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Before A Referring Physician Portal

Believe it or not there are still many people that use tangible forms of media to view images. Films are still being parceled to Referring Physicians today. People continue to fax, and most “progressive” of all - mail CDs and DVDs of medical images. Upon taking a closer look, you too will realize that these methods of sharing medical images and records are extremely faulty. Images get sent to the wrong location all the time. CDs get damaged unintentionally by mail carriers every day, and also - patients - they forget to bring their images with them to followups and pre-ops more often than not. That’s what you are looking at without a sufficient solution.

The time it takes to burn the CDs, the cost for adding the images onto the media in the first place, not to mention the overall staff resources you are allocating for the entire process; as an Imaging Center, you could do better. It’s due to lackadaisical solutions like this that Referring Physicians don’t get their images and records in time. It is incredibly frustrating for a Referring Physician to watch the clock for a parcel and hope that the CD is not destroyed. In fact, if a specialist has to cancel a surgery due to the lack of data available, it can cost up to tens of thousands of USD. From a patient’s perspective, it’s time taken off work, sitting for an hour in a waiting room only to hear that you have to reschedule your appointment. It’s a lose-lose situation.

With A Referring Physician Portal

A Referring Physician portal enables Imaging Centers to deliver medical images and diagnostic reports more efficiently and effectively to their Referring Physicians. Hence, it makes it easier for Referring Physicians to get access to reports and images required to start a treatment plan. The long wait times are taken out of the equation, because as a Referring Physician, you don't have to rely on the mail service or even the patient to deliver the images. The patient gets up from their scan, gets dressed and goes on with their day. They don't have to stay and wait for the Imaging Center to burn a CD. Instead, a tech simply uploads the images up to the Cloud. Once in the Cloud, a Referring Physician could instantly click a button and view the images and reports made by the radiologist. Often, Referring Physicians want to have more time to review the reports on a more difficult case before seeing their patients. A Referring Physician Portal enables just that. You are able to have more control and power over your time and schedule. Rather than staying late at the office due to studies coming in late, you can go home early or you can view the images remotely from any device that can connect to the internet. Additionally, sometimes as a Referring Physician you want to connect with the radiologist who did the read and collaborate. With a proper solution you can. That is the flexibility a Referring Physician Portal (done right) provides.

Final Thought

Having the ability to share and access medical images where they are needed, when they are needed can improve medical outcomes. With a proper solution you can actually increase your efficiency. We all have heard the saying “time is money”, but in fact time can also play a factor in saving a life. With the right set up, an Imaging Center can get images sent to a Referring Physician immediately after they are rendered from the modality. The Referring Physician could be at a restaurant, at the pool, on their couch watching Netflix, or at the office, and they could instantly pull up the reports that need to be viewed. All you need is internet access, and you can begin instantly sharing medical images and records...in a single click.

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