Sharing medical images to get expert second opinions and consultation can now be a swift and simple process
- Second opinions in healthcare can save lives
- Expert consultations between healthcare professionals help avoid misdiagnosis and unneeded procedures
- Additional reviews reassure patients that they are getting the right diagnoses and best medical care
- The process of sharing patients’ medical image data for consultations is now much more rapid and convenient with cloud-based sharing solutions
There is nothing absolute in science. Theories and deductions are there to be challenged and either validated or corrected. The same principle applies to medicine and surgery. An initial diagnosis can never be regarded as final. There is always room for another opinion — and there should be tools in place to facilitate expert second opinions.
3 benefits of having a second opinion
Having second opinions can markedly improve patient care. There are three significant benefits of having a second opinion.
- Avoidance of misdiagnosis and unnecessary procedures
Medical mistakes cause tens of thousands of deaths annually. Second opinions can help avoid these mistakes and resultant mortalities.
The primary advantage of seeking a second opinion or bringing in an expert to consult on the case is more accurate diagnoses. It helps avoid misdiagnoses that happen all too often in the healthcare sector.
Most diagnostic mistakes originate from under-reading patient medical images. Some misdiagnoses are also the result of professionals not correctly reading the anatomical or pathological details. The chances of such diagnostic errors can be diminished by having a second-opinion mechanism in place.
Expert consultations safeguard a diagnostic inference from being erroneous. It is like having an extra layer of security preventing a mishap. Misdiagnosis can have drastic fallouts. They can result in subjecting patients to unnecessary mental pressures and procedures.
Being able to avoid misdiagnosis and unnecessary procedures is an essential step to delivering the best possible treatment to patients.
Jonathan Epstein, Director of Surgical Pathology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, believes that a second opinion can change the diagnosis, impacting treatment and prognosis. He often gets second opinion requests that result in him changing the original cancer diagnosis to non-cancerous or altering the grade of a tumor. His expert opinion has allowed many patients to avoid surgery and radiation.
- Patient reassurance
People give primary importance to their health — and rightly so. An extra set of eyes critically appraising their medical reports gives them the reassurance they need.
Second opinions eliminate doubts. If the initial diagnosis is confirmed, patients can move on with the recommended treatment. And if the original diagnosis is nullified, it saves patients the hassle of undergoing unnecessary procedures.
Most patients want to be sure they are getting the best possible healthcare, and second opinions should be seen as a part of that process.
- Staying safe from financial losses
Second opinions can save patients from unnecessary treatments and procedures. These uncalled-for treatments often have considerable costs. Getting an additional review can save patients not only from physical repercussions but also from financial damage.
A wrong diagnosis can land medical professionals in trouble, as well. Patients may sue a doctor on the basis of negligent treatment. By making expert consultations part of the diagnostic system, healthcare facilities can save themselves from considerable financial implications.
What are the challenges in sharing medical images for second opinions?
In the past, it was not an easy task to share patients’ medical images to get an expert second opinion. The tech was not there to support the instant transfer of medical image data with massive file sizes.
Going 10 years back, If a healthcare professional wanted to get a second opinion regarding a patient scan, it would be a lengthy process of sending the files via snail mail and waiting for the opinion to come back. The medical record would have to be physically delivered to the other facility. The consultation process could also be delayed due to the unavailability of the concerned professional. Ultimately, the process of getting a second opinion could take up to several days to complete
Even in this era of flamboyant technological advancement, the medical image-sharing process is not as swift as it should be. Many healthcare facilities use the disk method to share medical image data. The process of burning CDs and sending them to other facilities for expert consultations not only takes considerable time but also significant expense.
Medical care demands prompt action. Healthcare professionals can’t afford time-consuming processes when somebody’s life may be hanging in the balance.
New technologies offer simplified medical image sharing
All is not bad with contemporary medical image data sharing. A considerable number of healthcare organizations have moved on and adopted advanced technologies for faster, more convenient, and more effective consultation processes.
Emerging technologies such as cloud-based PACS are making it possible for doctors to view patient image data simultaneously and work together to find the right diagnosis and treatment options.
Cloud technology is being leveraged extensively to provide the best possible medical image-sharing solution. It can simplify access to consulting physicians, resulting in increased availability of expert opinions in testing situations.
Share XR offers a set of technologies that facilitate hassle-free communication between healthcare professionals. It ensures easy and quick electronic transfer of even large data files with just a few clicks.
Share XR rids you of the need to burn or mail disks. It works on all kinds of devices, which makes data sharing widely accessible. It offers an inexpensive solution that can be used to share medical image data anywhere in the world — securely.
For a faster peer consultation solution, Share XR is one of the best available choices. For more information about Share XR, contact us here.