Patients Like Accessing Imaging Records

December 2, 2014
Diagnostic Imaging Staff

Making imaging records available to patients allows them to participate in their medical care.

CHICAGO - Most patients like having direct access to their medical exam records, according to a new study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, NY, evaluated patient and provider satisfaction with the use of RSNA Image Share, an Internet-based interoperable image exchange system that gives patients ownership of their imaging exams and control over access to their imaging records. Using this system allows patients to access their imaging exams and incorporate them into their personal health records (PHRs). Imaging may also be sent within the network.

"Easy and timely electronic access to an online unified source of radiologic exams under a patient's direct control can potentially improve healthcare quality, enhance the patient's engagement in their medical care, and reduce unnecessary imaging utilization and exposure to ionizing radiation," Giampaolo Greco, PhD, MPH, assistant professor, department of population health science and policy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said in a release.

A total of 2,216 patients, mean age 49.8, enrolled in the study between July 2012 and July 2013. They were provided with a brief survey to assess the patient and physician experience with the process. An average of six exams were uploaded per patient, the most common being radiographs (34%), CTs (26%), and MRIs (18%). Twenty-three percent (502) of the patients returned the surveys. Of these, 448 patients identified the method used at the visit to share images: Internet, CDs, both Internet and CDs, or other, and 165 included a section completed by their physician.

Nearly all (96%) of the patients responded positively to having direct access to their medical images, and 78% viewed their images independently. There was no difference between Internet and CD users in satisfaction with privacy and security and timeliness of access to medical images.

"We found almost unanimous agreement from patients on the value of having direct, independent access to their imaging exams," Greco noted in the release. "This report shows that an image-sharing solution that is patient-directed and Internet-based is feasible and not only facilitates access, but also, with respect to privacy and security, generates the same level of user satisfaction as that attained through CDs."