Planning for Medical Image Sharing Portals: A Quick Guide

A decade ago, communicating with patients and colleagues through the web was out of the question – the technology simply wasn’t available.

But times, they are a changin’, and today, digital channels are transforming the way we interact in the medical world.

Online portals have the potential to fundamentally change the way we share information and collaborate on cases. One area that needs a lot of attention is imaging. How many cases has your organization been involved with this year where diagnostic imaging played a key role? If you stop and think about it, you need access to patient scans to handle most sophisticated cases. Being able to distribute imaging data through the web is critical.

Understanding the importance of image portals is one thing. Knowing how to implement a portal for image sharing? Well, that’s an entirely different beast.

Every image portal implementation needs a strategy. The better you are at defining your strategy, the more success you will have rolling it out and getting users to adopt the technology.

There are five stages of the strategy: planning, deploying, training, educating, and promoting.  In our new eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Implementing Medical Image Sharing Portals we walk you through each step. This blog gives you a sneak peek into the first stage, planning. Let’s jump right in! 

Planning for your Medical Image Share Portal

In stage one, you want to map out how you envision your image portal being used. What process are you trying to improve? How can you leverage the benefits image sharing can bring to your organization? You don’t want to miss out on any opportunities. Start by identifying situations where people will utilize your portal. Typically, an image portal will be used by both patients and providers. Below we examine a few creative ways image portals are being used by facilities to save time, cut costs, improve communication, and increase referrals.

Receive images from patients prior to appointments. 

Speed up the patient check-in process by requesting access to images before an appointment. 

Provide patients with better control over image data

Once a patient shares medical images with your institution, you can give him/her the ability to create an account to store medical images in a personal health record. Your patients can access their accounts at anytime to view and share their images.

Optimize your second opinion program for imaging

As an extension of your portal, you can also embed medical image sharing functionality into your online second opinion program. This allows you to collect patient information, a synopsis of their symptoms, medical history, and medical images all in one fell swoop.

Open up lines of communication with colleagues

Physician portals and sharing functionality allows you to open up lines of communication with out-of-network providers, while simplifying the process of collaborating on patient cases involving imaging.

Receive images from outside providers

Waiting for patient imaging to come through the mail is archaic. Having an online image portal in place makes it easy for referring doctors or radiologists to send you patient information in real-time.

Share images with outside providers

Image portals do not have to be a one-way street. You can use sharing functionality to distribute image exams outbound to specialists or new destinations.

The possibilities are endless! Planning out your various use cases is half the battle. Next you will need to put the planning into action by deploying your portal(s). A big part of the deployment process is focused on usability. How are people going to find it and actually use the thing? Download our entire eBook to find out! You’ll learn tips & tricks and best practices for deploying medical image sharing portals at your organization.

Catherine Slotnick, Marketing Manager

About Catherine Slotnick

Catherine Slotnick is a passionate healthcare marketer with a deep interest in the latest & greatest in the Health IT space. As Ambra Health's Director of Marketing, Catherine primarily focuses on creating and sharing thought leadership content in the radiology and informatics space. Catherine graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Psychology & Art History. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking and petting dogs that aren't hers.

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