A new era has opened up in the field of radiology, in which the reports can be directly accessed by the patients through an online portal just days after their imaging appointment. Although this is a controversial topic in the medical field, studies show that patient preference supports getting radiology reports directly and not merely receiving word once their doctors find the time to contact them.
By receiving the reports directly, the patients face less anxiety as they wait for their results to become available. Instead of having to wait weeks, the patient can access their results in just a couple of days at almost the same time as the referring physician. This improved method of sharing information not only allows the patient to be more involved in their own care, but the radiologist as well.Advocates for the practice argue that radiologists should not be isolated from the diagnosis process because they interpret key information regarding the patient’s results. There should be open communication between the patient, the referring physician, and the radiologist to provide the highest level of care. Despite the benefits of direct radiology reporting, several radiologists have voiced their concern regarding the practice.One of the main concerns with giving the patients direct access to the radiology report involves whether they have the knowledge to interpret the data and results that are presented. However, since the installation of the patient portals, this has not been an issue. Patients have the technology to do research regarding their results as well as their symptoms, thus ensuring that they understand and can contribute to the medical discussion.This moves radiology from provider-centered care to patient-centered care that encourages participation by all parties involved. Radiologists have also taken it upon themselves to only present the conclusions of the imaging in terms that the patients can easily understand, to avoid overwhelming them with superfluous medical information.Another worry involved whether reporting the radiology results directly to the patients would cause an increase in calls to the healthcare provider as they misinterpret the images for the worst. This worry also has not become an issue for the above-mentioned reason of doctors tailoring their reports and the patients having access to the internet to gain more knowledge about their results. It makes sense that this practice would work because this precedent has existed in mammography for years.The upcoming era of personalized and precision medicine is the culmination of informatics and healthcare, allowing medicine to be specifically designed for the individual patient. Direct radiology reporting will also decrease lawsuits as the chances of patients not receiving important imaging results become less and less likely.If you have a question regarding medical malpractice in Pennsylvania, contact the personal injury attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.