It’s easier, cost effective, and secure.
If you’ve ever gotten an MRI, you probably didn’t put much thought into how the image is sent from one doctor to another, but healthcare providers do. Electronic image-sharing has become more popular in recent years, but some providers are still wary about using it because of misunderstandings about costs and privacy. Let’s take a look at three common image-sharing misconceptions:
Is online image sharing HIPAA compliant?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed to protect the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of Protected Health Information (PHI), and many people worry that sharing electronic data is not HIPAA compliant. This is false. Electronic image sharing is, in fact, secure — more secure than burning a CD, as a tired employee can’t accidentally leave it somewhere outside of the office. And likely safer than sending physical copies through the mail. The images shared electronically are encrypted and audited, not to mention much easier to access and use for both patients and doctors.
Is a cloud required?
When many people think of image-sharing, they think of cloud storage, and all of the risks and pitfalls that come with placing data permanently online. But while clouds can be used to share medical information, they aren’t necessary. This misconception stems from how often the cloud is employed in other forms of information-sharing, but it is not required for an image-sharing system.
Is it expensive?
Electronic image-sharing may seem complex (and on the back-end, especially in terms of securing data, it is), but it’s not complicated in terms of cost. Many providers are under the impression that image-sharing is more expensive than burning and exchanging CDs, but this assessment doesn’t account for the costs of burners, maintenance, postage rates, and time. When all is said and done, a hospital that burns just one disk per day spends over $5,000 a year on CDs, and most places burn well more than that — massively increasing the cost relative to a electronic options.
Don’t let misconceptions stop you from benefiting from an electronic image-sharing system. Gone are the days when everything needed to be mailed. Getting an MRI has become easier and patients don’t need to worry about the privacy of their health records.
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