Making it easier to access medical images across platforms improves patient outcomes and satisfaction while saving money and time
- 81% of adults support increased access to medical images for themselves and their providers
- Patient satisfaction increases, communication gets a boost, and they trust their doctors more when information is shared with them
- Patients want to be able to access their images any time, anywhere, and love apps, but they do have some security concerns
- For providers, sharing images electronically helps improve work-life balance since they can view images anywhere
- Providers also save money, avoiding duplicate and unnecessary testing, which currently adds $30 billion to healthcare costs and impacts the bottom line.
One of the most important technological advances in medical imaging is the proliferation of medical image exchange/interoperability, which is the ability to store and transfer patients’ digital images for more effective care now and in the future. There are myriad benefits from medical image interoperability, including cost efficiencies for providers, better outcomes for patients, and increased patient satisfaction.
The ability to share medical imaging information electronically enables quick access, promotes complete documentation, improves productivity and workflow, and increases efficiency overall. Of course, there are disadvantages to digital image sharing, including security challenges, which makes your choice of solutions especially important – cloud storage provides both easy access and enhanced security.
Medical image interoperability is crucial to maximizing patient care at a time when patients are demanding more control over their health care. Providers can access images more quickly, and integration of these images into the patient’s overall health records mitigates a number of risks. Let’s take a look at digital image sharing benefits for both practitioners and patients.
Patients want their medical images shared
It’s important for providers to understand that most patients want access to their medical images, and want them shared with other practitioners, per opinions gathered in a recent survey. One patient with a fracture got self-care advice she otherwise would have not known about. The timeliness of this advice, however, was impeded by a provider who insisted upon mailing a CD that arrived five days later!
This patient is far from alone. As you might predict, the pandemic increased the support not only for data-sharing efforts between providers, but for their ability to download their own personal data. Another survey showed that:
- 81% of adults are supportive of increased access to health information for both themselves and providers.
- Most Americans want their data to be more accessible, with the ability to access this information using apps on their smartphones and tablets, although security remains a concern. Along with access, they want their data protected, and the lack of federal law to protect data stored on apps makes them apprehensive.
- While privacy protection is top-of-mind, survey respondents said they were okay with providers scanning their fingerprints so different EHR systems could correctly match records.
Effective and timely image exchange also improves the patient experience by cutting down the time spent waiting for a referral or the right treatment. They also avoid additional visits that mean more copays and transportation expenses. Perhaps most importantly, image interoperability increases trust when a provider is well-informed about past or current treatment. It also fosters engagement during telemedicine visits.
Patients are enthusiastic about medical image sharing benefits, but what are the advantages for providers?
The provider benefits of medical image interoperability
Medical image sharing has the ability to transform health care by improving every aspect of patient care, including reduced exposure to radiation, better communication, educational opportunities, efficiency, and equity. It also improves coordination between providers. This transformation benefits providers as well as patients.
Dollars and cents
- Medical imaging processes have inherent expenses accounting for 10% of the total yearly healthcare costs in America.
- It is estimated that 30% of imaging is not necessary and adds about $30 billion to U.S. healthcare costs annually.
Image sharing, according to a study of 12,620 patients, saved $32,460 from avoiding repeated basic imaging such as x-rays, ultrasounds, and mammograms. MRI and CT scans made up only 13% of avoided procedures, yet saved 50% of the total cost. While this was a small study, you can easily see how much could be saved across the entire healthcare system.
Productivity and work-life balance
Cloud-based mobile technology is cited by doctors as a must-have to save time and provide better patient care. The ability to access images offers the means for better decisions, better communication, and the ability to dynamically monitor patients. At the root is that technology helps them do more with less.
However, clunky technology solutions are poorly tolerated. What they want is something that truly visualizes value. The sharing platform they use must be easy to install, have an intuitive user interface, and send images quickly.
Security is another issue for both physicians and patients, so any solution must encrypt data while at rest (stored) and while it’s being sent. Then, of course, there is HIPAA, so any solutions must be fully compliant, with the ability to anonymize data, control recipient access, and restrict viewable timeframes, among other requirements.
With the obvious advantages offered by sharing medical images for both patients and practitioners in terms of access, speed, and cost reduction, image interoperability is essential for the modern medical practice.
Medical Image Sharing Made Easy
Our medical image sharing software, Share XR, blends technologies to allow seamless communication between physicians, patients, and other providers. We’re all about ditching the disk. Even large data files, like CT/MRI scans, mammograms, breast tomograms, as well as pathology slide images are easily and quickly transferred electronically in only three simple steps.
We’ve designed Share XR to keep life simple by providing an inexpensive solution that works on every device type. Share scans and images securely from any location to anywhere in the world in minutes! Easy, fast, inexpensive. Reach out today.