Patient-coordinated electronic exchange could remove privacy and security doubts surrounding the sharing of imaging results, according to research published August 11 by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
Health information exchange has enabled the electronic storage and transmission of imaging results, but the sharing of this data is subject to the same concerns that plague the sharing of non-imaging data, mainly that patient health information could end up in the wrong hands leaving providers liable for any negative consequences.
Having patients hand deliver imaging results to providers can be burdensome and error prone, “but this manual process has the advantage that the consent and regulatory procedures are well established. Patients are in full control of the sharing process and can protect their privacy,” wrote Yaorong Ge, PhD, of the Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Department of Biomedical Engineering in Winston-Salem, N.C., along with his colleagues.
To test the capability of health information exchange to deliver imaging results while maintaining the patient-coordinated nature of the manual process, Ge and his colleagues built a patient-controlled access-key registry (PCARE).
PCARE provides patients who can electronically verify their identities with unique identifiers access to imaging results and allows them to authorize sharing with electronic signatures. In two trial runs, PCARE was able to successfully and securely transmit imaging results electronically between hospitals.
“By facilitating explicit patient consent and authorization for each specific sharing of imaging data across organization, network or even state boundaries, this framework dramatically simplifies the problem of reconciling differing regulations, policies and laws governing data sharing,” Ge wrote.
To learn more about the project, please read "Building a Better Mousetrap: Developing Models for Cross-enterprise Image Sharing," in Health Imaging magazine.