A week ago while on vacation in Florida I experienced another episode of vertigo. For those of you who have never experienced vertigo, you are fortunate! Long story short I ended up in the ER, and then admitted to the hospital. The stay was necessary from the physician’s perspective, as they did a CT scan while in the ER, with inconclusive findings, which again in their mind necessitated admission and an MRI/MRA scan (which of course couldn’t be scheduled until the next day!).
I knew exactly why they felt it necessary to do the MRI/MRA, but with access to prior CT and MRI/MRA scans that were done several years ago, I am confident that they would have been able to avoid doing the MRI/MRA!
Hence, a personal example of the benefit of image-based health information exchanges. If the physicians had the ability to access and download my prior CT or MRI/MRA exams, they could have made a comparison and ruled out their concern. The lack of any ability to access my prior exams meant ordering and conducting an expensive exam for nothing, and cost me a day in the hospital!
Clearly, this event was outside the bounds of what would be addressed by a regional health information exchange, but it could have been met with a national exchange. Conversely, having the ability to have my studies stored in a patient-oriented cloud such as Microsoft’s HealthVault would have been even better, as I could have easily granted the facility permission to access my prior exams. Instead, I had to complete a consent form to have the exams forwarded to my primary care facility – a 10-15 business day proposition. So, here I sit waiting on their transfer before I can follow up locally. Fortunately, this is not a serious condition. I can only empathize with those with serious health conditions that are caught in the same inefficiencies of snail mail-based healthcare!
Having experienced a real-world example of needless diagnostic procedures, I can wholeheartedly endorse the notion of cloud-based repositories, as they can save the expense and time of redundant procedures. The only consolation? It rained every day we were in Florida!