Putting Image Sharing in Patient Hands

Work continues on the building of an information network enabling patients to access, store and share their radiological images and reports, along with other information, via a personal health record.

The Radiological Society of North America is overseeing the initiative, which launched in 2009 with a $4.7 million contract with the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and BioEngineering, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Five pilot sites are participating in building the network, called RSNA Image Share. Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, University of California-San Francisco and University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore have enrolled patients. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and University of Chicago Medical Center expect to begin enrollment.

To secure the PHRs, patients are given an eight-digit code and then create their own password. From the PHR, patients can select the images, reports and other medical information they wish to share with a clinician. The image sharing network includes a built-in, 72-hour delay to ensure the patient's physician sees new imaging results before the patient does.

Once the initial network is built, the next goal will be developing direct transfer of images for immediate accessibility during a medical emergency. Network developers updated their work during RSNA 2011 in Chicago.


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