June 25, 2013 – How important a role could patient imaging portals play in patient satisfaction? According to a recent survey,1 they would positively impact patients’ relationships with their medical providers. Over 79% of respondents reported they would return to an imaging facility (if needed in the future) if it provided access to an imaging patient portal. In addition, 76% indicated they would recommend the medical providers’ services to a friend or colleague.
Approximately 1,000 medical patient respondents participated in the survey conducted by IDR Medical GmbH and funded by Carestream Health, Inc. (Carestream), which was designed to determine how a patient imaging portals might impact patient satisfaction and engagement. The results showed that 83% of respondents would use an imaging patient portal, while just 7.4% of respondents did not see any advantage to having access to personal medical images and associated reports. Eighty six percent said they would want access to both their medical images and the written report associated with the images. The two most compelling reasons for using a portal was sharing images with other physicians and maintaining a personal record of imaging history, indicating more active participation by patients in their own healthcare management.
How might patient imaging portals affect the role of radiologists? If radiologists provide a solution, such as a patient imaging portal, it may boost patient satisfaction and enhance the radiologists’ value to referring physicians.
“The radiologist becomes more relevant because the patient is more satisfied. The patient recognizes the value of imaging as a required part of the medical record,” Cristine Kao, Marketing Manager, Healthcare IT, Carestream Health.
In addition to increasing patient satisfaction, hospitals, imaging centers, and physician offices can realize cost savings by using electronic patient imaging portals, obviating the need for CDs and other media to transfer patient imaging records. The study found that 78.9% of respondents said they preferred to receive images and medical reports through an online imaging portal, either singularly or in combination with hard copies of images and reports, as compared to 11.8% who said they were rather receive images and reports via CD, DVD, hard copy paper, or film.
Increasing patient and physician satisfaction will have financial implications as accountable care organizations (ACO) become implemented. “Beyond the patient recognizing value of imaging, there is financial impact,” noted Kao. “ACOs are measured and funded based on patient and clinician satisfaction. If an image portal is accessible to patients, it could have an impact on patient satisfaction and physician referrals. Patients are likely to stay with that provider within that ACO because of this technology.”
Radiologists can increase their perceived value in the continuum of care by providing referring physicians direct access to imaging exams through either image-enabled electronic health records (EHR) and imaging archives. Solutions like the Carestream MyVue Patient Portal (MyVue) can operate as a stand-alone patient portal as part of Vue PACS or Vue Archive, or embedded within an existing HIS or EHR patient portal.
Other key findings from the survey include:
Respondents across all segmented age groups, except the oldest (71+), indicated a high degree of likelihood of using a patient portal.
There was a consistently high degree of interest—no less than 93.5%—in accessing to all 6 medical image types referenced in the survey: x-ray, ultrasound, MRI, CT, mammogram, and PET.
There was acceptance of current security measures that would allow patients to use an online patient portal to share images with physicians (88%) and family members (60.6%).
Reference: James Wood J, Hertweck TR. Patient attitudes regarding use and utility of a new patient portal platform. IDR Medical GmbH.
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