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Patient-Controlled Access Registry Aids in Image Sharing

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A patient-controlled registry allows imaging data to be shared without placing undue burdens on the patients, providers or infrastructures.

Use of a patient-controlled access registry allows imaging data to be shared between unaffiliated health care facilities without placing undue burdens on the patients, providers or infrastructures, said researchers in an article published by the Journal of the American Informatics Association.

Researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., built a patient-controlled access-key registry (PCARE), which allowed participating patients to electronically verify their identities. The goal was to avoid having patients hand-deliver images or CDs, or burdensome requests to be sent between institutions.

Through the PCARE portal, access keys were issued by the image source facilities and when the keys were digitally signed by the patients for requesting facilities, the images became available for retrieval. In addition to ease of information transfer, this type of system would help protect patient privacy, the authors said.

“The same framework can also be used to realize a longitudinal virtual electronic health record,” the authors wrote.

A prototype has been implemented to demonstrate the feasibility of such a framework, as well as the benefits of the approach.

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