Patients Going Mobile: The Consumerization of Radiology
This post originally appeared on Intel Healthcare’s website as a post in support of the Intel Health & Life Sciences Innovation Summit webcast series.
A patient using a mobile device for healthcare-related purposes is no longer a surprise. There is a plethora of applications available for people to track health trends, set reminders to take medications, and provide tips related to exercise and diet. One area of medicine that is absent from the mobile patient revolution is radiology/medical imaging, but we at Carestream see that this is going to change soon.
We commissioned a study by IDR Medical earlier in 2013 that looked into whether patients would be interested in gaining access to their medical images. The results overwhelmingly showed that patients do want access to these images, and not only do they want access, but they want the ability to share these images too—be it with family members or with other physicians. Out of 1,000 survey participants, only 83% said they would be interested in using a patient portal for their medical images. Additionally, parents indicated that a patient portal would be helpful in storing, sharing and accessing their children’s images. Eighty percent of respondents said that they would use an imaging portal in such a way. As an added bonus among our findings, patient portals were found to be desirable among all age groups, from the 18-24 year olds, all the way up to those 71 and older. In fact, 59% of those 71 and older considered themselves “very likely” to use a patient portal if provided the opportunity. From these findings, we have found that not only are patient portals important to providing patients with valuable health information, but that medical imaging is a component that should be a part of these technologies.
Our solution to including radiology in the patient engagement trend is the patient portal, MyVue, which allows patients to access and share their medical images. Among trials conducted, we’ve seen positive results from patients—both on how much they enjoy the technology, but also about how easy it is to navigate the portal. When working with Houston Medical Imaging, less than 2% of users needed to make support calls regarding the technology, and most of the calls made were to reset passwords.
Another trial we conducted with Ferrara Hospital in Italy saw that 98% of patients were satisfied with the ability to view their diagnostic images through the web on a personal computer or iPad. The key point being that, like with Houston Medical Imaging, the patients found the technology to be intuitive. With a platform that is easy to learn and use, we predict that future users will have a similar easy experience when first accessing MyVue. If the technology were difficult to understand or took a great deal of training, then we would not be seeing the successful adoption rates that we have been seeing so far.
As expected, the rise mobile in healthcare applications has resulted in increased involvement from the FDA. Current FDA guidelines state that “if a mobile app is intended for use in performing a medical device function (i.e. for diagnosis of disease or other condition, or the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease), it is a medical device.” Because of this rule, Carestream is predicting that all image viewers being developed and going to market—whether they are meant for patients, physicians, or clinicians—will need to have FDA clearance for diagnostic use as a medical device.
It is clear that we have entered an age where patients want to be more involved in their healthcare–be in in tracking information, using that information to make healthy choices, or being able to share the information with different healthcare providers. As vendors, it is our responsibility to build and provide the technologies that address these needs. If we fail to accomplish this then we are hurting ourselves, healthcare providers and the patients, and we do not want a lose-lose-lose situation.