It’s Time to Ditch the Disk: Critical Care

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Radiology residents Mary Ellen Koran, MD, PhD, and Audrey Verde, MD, PhD, from Stanford University, contributed this post.

Sometimes, hearing a patient’s personal experience is the call-to-action we need. Below is Amanda’s* story:

“In October 2014, I knew I had cancer again. It would be my third time with ovarian cancer, and I could just feel it. Unfortunately, my doctor had just moved to another state, so I needed a new specialist. I knew my new doctor would require CT images; however, their office wouldn’t order a new scan until they had the comparison in-hand. Because my previous scans were done in another state, the fastest way I could get my images was to fill out paperwork, have my parents print it out and then drive two hours to pick up a CD of my images and mail it to me overnight. I called my new physician’s office every day for a week while my pain grew steadily. They finally found the CD in their mailroom, but told me they still couldn’t order a new scan because the comparison CD they received was of the wrong body part.

Verde_Audrey

 After over a week of excruciating pain, I was very upset because I correctly feared my cancer had returned and I couldn’t get any help. After visiting the doctor’s office and looking at the CD, I noticed the label said, “Name, Patient ID, CT of Chest, A…” The label had cut off the full name, which should’ve been “ Chest, Abdomen and Pelvis” – exactly what they needed. My care was delayed because of a mislabeled CD.

 Following two terrible weeks of pain, fear and frustration, my new physicians finally ordered a CT scan. My cancer had dramatically grown. I had surgery immediately, which could have been even more immediate if I hadn’t dealt with the issues obtaining my physical CD, which is a major barrier to care.”

* This patient has consented to use her real name.

There are multiple examples here where a secure, cloud-based image sharing platform would have improved patient care. Will you join us on our journey to #DitchTheDisk and improve the standard of care for all patients?

The #DitchTheDisk Task Force actively seeks patient and practitioner advocates as we embark on a journey to change the method of imaging transfer. To get involved, please fill out this form or email ditchthedisk@acr.org.

If you or someone you know has been affected by access to medical images, share your stories using the hashtag #DitchTheDisk on social media, commenting below or by joining the discussion on Engage (login required).

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