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Patient-directed Internet-based Medical Image Exchange:

Experience from an Initial Multicenter Implementation
Published:November 25, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2015.10.012

      Rationale and Objectives

      Inefficient transfer of personal health records among providers negatively impacts quality of health care and increases cost. This multicenter study evaluates the implementation of the first Internet-based image-sharing system that gives patients ownership and control of their imaging exams, including assessment of patient satisfaction.

      Materials and Methods

      Patients receiving any medical imaging exams in four academic centers were eligible to have images uploaded into an online, Internet-based personal health record. Satisfaction surveys were provided during recruitment with questions on ease of use, privacy and security, and timeliness of access to images. Responses were rated on a five-point scale and compared using logistic regression and McNemar's test.

      Results

      A total of 2562 patients enrolled from July 2012 to August 2013. The median number of imaging exams uploaded per patient was 5. Most commonly, exams were plain X-rays (34.7%), computed tomography (25.7%), and magnetic resonance imaging (16.1%). Of 502 (19.6%) patient surveys returned, 448 indicated the method of image sharing (Internet, compact discs [CDs], both, other). Nearly all patients (96.5%) responded favorably to having direct access to images, and 78% reported viewing their medical images independently. There was no difference between Internet and CD users in satisfaction with privacy and security and timeliness of access to medical images. A greater percentage of Internet users compared to CD users reported access without difficulty (88.3% vs. 77.5%, P < 0.0001).

      Conclusion

      A patient-directed, interoperable, Internet-based image-sharing system is feasible and surpasses the use of CDs with respect to accessibility of imaging exams while generating similar satisfaction with respect to privacy.

      Key Words

      Abbreviations:

      PHI (protected health information), CD (compact disc), PHR (personal health record), ISN (Image Share Network)
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