In our new era, we need to change a lot to make healthcare work. I am a big proponent of patient activism and believe that patients need to take greater role in their own care.
At a time when technology rules, radiologists can be early adopters of this philosophy to deliver better care to their patients, who are also their customers.
For example, patients increasingly would like to know their imaging results. Consults with patients are not historically something we do. But could they be? Patients might also want to see relevant images or receive reports on their phones or iPads or even just know that the report is completed and available.
Data security is certainly still important but within that context, we should aim to provide the customer with what they want. Greater involvement in their own care can lead to better care and awareness for patients.
Sure there can be some confusion, and you must be prepared for that. But that is a straw-man argument for not doing this, as compared to a reduction in healthcare oversights and an increase in patient empowerment.
Likewise our other customers, referring physicians, may want similar service. With tagged images, text messaging and emails, and sharing sites like Google+, more and more referring providers want their info delivered seamlessly, quickly and electronically.
Further the seamless delivery of information across multiple platforms will be a necessity in the future when radiologists will be part of Accountable Care Organizations and integrated delivery models. We need to be an active part of the development of this infrastructure, and not on the sidelines.