Did you do some spring shopping this weekend? What did you buy – groceries, clothes, gifts for spring weddings and graduations, and medical imaging services? Excuse me? You heard that right – more than ever, patients are doing a bit of shopping around when it comes to patient imaging services.
According to the Advisory Board Company, Aetna launched a payment estimator tool in 2010 that allows members to estimate total cost-of-care and out of pocket care. Additionally, the tool offers estimates on over 650 services that have large potential for savings. Researchers from Harvard further analyzed this tool and found that imaging exams (MRIs, CTs, and X-rays) were among the most commonly searched procedures.
Researchers also found that younger individuals were using the search tool much more frequently. Overall, millenials are the most likely age group to price check medical and dental care, are more likely to use telehealth and mhealth, and check online reviews of physicians.
However, across generations, patients are demanding access to anytime, anywhere healthcare and services at a much higher rate than ever before. Patient adoption of health-related apps nearly doubled over the last two years. As discussed in our trends to watch for in 2016 blog post, about 32% of consumers had at least one health app on their phones in 2015, up from only 16% in 2013, according to a PwC report. Many are also calling 2016 the year of telemedicine. The Global Telemedicine market in 2016 is predicted to be $27 billion, with Virtual Health Services making up $16 billion of that amount (BBC Research and Towers Watson).
Outside of health-related apps, patient portals are becoming the norm across hospitals and private practices alike. A patient portal can give patients the opportunity to keep track of their own medical history, schedule appointments, contact physicians, and refill prescriptions. However, few patient portals are image-enabled; only reports, not the images themselves are available. Instead, patients are frequently given CDs of their images if requested. CDs are like pens, they tend to break, get lost, and be inefficient upon use. Particularly, if a patient suffers from a more serious prognosis that requires a larger care team or multiple opinions, carrying imaging from place-to-place is exhausting.
To learn how leading facilities are addressing these issues and image-enabling their patient portals, tune into our webinar this Friday, April 22, 2016 at 12pm EST. Guest physicians from the Mayo Clinic and Stanford Children’s hospital will offer a deep dive into the state of medical imaging and its future direction.