Much has been written about the challenges of inter-facility diagnostic imaging interchange. Alex McFerran, Director Partnerships at Centaur Labs, has posted a very readable and understandable LinkedIn article on those precise challenges.
The diagnostic imaging industry operates using Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) platforms that meet DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) standards. So, even where the DICOM standards are met, why is it then so hard for a patient to move her MRI images from Medical Center A to Medical Center B which Mr. McFerran calls "probably the worst consumer experience there is in the United States in 2022"? (Spoiler alert, today's patient in 2022 is still receiving her images via CD-ROM discs.)
McFerran sees the recipe for seamless electronic interchange is for the companies in this space to simply "put their heads together" to reach agreement on how to more easily electronically share medical images. But that is not easily achieved. The collaboration has to be in those companies' interests, he feels.
Recent company integration in the image exchange company space gives some market observers hope for progress in the #ditchthedisc movement. McFerran sees the possibility of seamless image exchange to be a lot closer today than it was a few weeks ago as a result of that company consolidation. McFerran is pulling for that outcome, but he is not so optimistic for quick results. Patients still do not have a single medical record number and there is yet to be universal order procedure codes.
For a better understanding of this very real dilemma, I commend a read of Alex McFerran's helpful article.