Communication is key

It’s fitting that in the week leading up to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference next week in New Orleans, our top stories focused on cutting-edge technology and communication.

The University of California, San Francisco, shared its experiences as a pilot site of the RSNA Image Share project, a cloud-based, electronic personal health record where patients can manage their own imaging exams. Surveys of both patients and physicians found both groups felt satisfied with the network, but patient education is critical to the adoption of the concept.

Also this week, Health Imaging took a look at a few next generation imaging tools that would have seemed like science fiction just a few years ago. Handheld, battery-operated x-ray scanners and a no-touch image browsing systems are a couple of the exciting projects being worked on today that could shape the practice of imaging in the future.

Patient communication was the focus of a couple of articles this week, one centered on discussing cost-effectiveness with patients and the other that delved into the issue of direct reporting of results from radiologists to patient. An article in Health Affairs detailed the results of a series of patient focus groups that found public attitudes about healthcare costs must shift before cost can become an explicit factor in clinical decisions. Too many patients want the perceived best care, regardless of cost, especially if those costs are borne by insurers or society as a whole. With regard to communication of results to patients, an article in the American Journal of Roentgenology advised that a radiologist’s confidence in the diagnosis should guide whether to directly deliver results more than the severity of diagnosis.

Next week, we’ll be reporting from the HIMSS conference, where there’s sure to be more on the topic of cutting edge health IT and communication. Follow along with Health Imaging and our sister publication, Clinical Innovation + Technology, as we bring you the latest news from the show.

See you in New Orleans!

Evan Godt, staff writer

Health Imaging