Patient Access to Imaging Results

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Should patients be able to access their imaging reports through the internet?  More and more commonly, health care systems are allowing their patients to get their X-ray, CT, MRI or other diagnostic imaging results through secure portals – in some cases before the referring physician has even had a chance to review them.

What is the right answer here?  I am not entirely sure since there are certainly controversial issues which may make this seem like an uncertain venture.  However, I do feel that there is a compelling argument for it to occur. After all, we cannot slow the pace of technology, and patients are becoming more educated, savvy consumers with a real desire to know imaging results. Finally, the patients have paid for their scans, and they deserve to own a copy of their own medical record, giving them the chance to control the health care which will affect their own bodies.

Patients are our primary focus as radiologists, and this should be our foremost concern with respect to transparency. We have entered an information age, and knowledge is power.  I know of no unforeseen problems at the numerous large healthcare systems which have chosen to allow patients the ability to retrieve their imaging results.

Do you agree with giving patients direct access to their radiology reports?

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