Image sharing can reduce repeat scans, facilitate second opinions

The growth of image sharing services such Image Share can help informed patients avoid duplicative or repeat scans, as well as facilitate their ability to quickly get second opinions, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

Image Share is a network that allows radiologists to share medical imagines with patients using personal health accounts. The pilot project is funded by the National Institute for Biomedical Engineering and is administered by the Radiological Society of North America. According to the RSNA, Image Share currently provides services to patients at five major medical centers, including Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, the University of California, San Francisco, and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

The WSJ article reported on the case of a little girl who last summer exhibited frightening stroke-like symptoms, underwent an MRI at a hospital in Oklahoma City, and had a diagnosis confirmed that same day by a neurologist in Boston. The neurologist was able to review the MRI images through an image sharing service called LifeImage, which provides a clearinghouse connecting Image Share patient accounts with radiology offices.

"This is all about giving patients control of their health information and engaging them in their own care," David Mendelson, director of radiology-information systems at Mount Sinai and principal investigator for Image Share, told WSJ. According to Mendelson, more than 3,000 patients are enrolled in the project and as many as 20 hospitals and radiology groups in multiple facilities may soon join the project.

Patients who enroll in the Image Share program receive personal health accounts to maintain and share test results via a password-protected site. The personal health accounts are provided by two vendors--Dell, Inc. and the aforementioned LifeImage.

To learn more:
- see the article in the Wall Street Journal
- read about Image Share

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