Don’t underestimate the value of implementing an enterprise-wide imaging strategy, especially when it comes to holding onto your most important stakeholders: your patients. Being able to efficiently store and manage medical images and data doesn’t just help you as the provider; it also helps strengthen your patients’ bonds with your practice.
When it comes to important personal data that most people can’t quickly and readily access on their own, healthcare records stand alone. Think about it. When the average Jane wants to prepare for a consultation with her financial advisor, for instance, she goes to her computer or other electronic device, taps a few keys, and gets instant access through a password-protected website or applet to her current banking information, investment holdings, credit card statements and other financial records.
Not so with her equally important – if not more vital – healthcare records. To prepare for a consultation with a clinical specialist, our same average Jane typically must fill out special release forms, obtain authorizations, pay fees and jump through any number of other time-consuming hoops to access her own health records, including valuable medical images.
For this reason, developing a comprehensive strategy to electronically store a patient’s medical images and data in one central location and connect them to the electronic health record is more than just a matter of complying with Meaningful Use mandates with respect to interoperability. It’s a way to foster real health information exchange with patients and other providers. It makes it easier for patients to control and manage their own healthcare needs. Furthermore, it distinguishes providers who enable ease of access from those who don’t.
Ultimately, making life easier for patients enhances your ability to compete for the healthcare dollars of patients – patients who already have access to information in other critical aspects of their lives, and increasingly expect it from healthcare.