Medicine Getting More Tech-Savvy

Seniors, or any patient, who has experienced the frustrating and frightening necessity of having their radiological test results read by a bevy of doctors, often not all located in the same location, surely wish that there was a better way.

The test results are downloaded to a CD (compact disc) and then either sent in the mail (who does that anymore?) or hand delivered by the patient to the physician for his expert opinion. What a tiresome burden, which can add days or even a week or more to the time from test to diagnosis, leaving the patient needlessly worried and hopelessly frustrated.

Describing this state of affairs to an outsider not caught up in the drama of the delivery of the CD from office to office will quickly ask himself: “If people can share photos effortlessly over the internet all across the planet, why can’t we do the same with test results, which are also files stored in computers, just like pictures?”

Why not indeed? Of course, they can be handled easily and quickly, just like photos on-line, its just that medical institutions need to catch-up with the current technological capabilities. Today there is a movement to centrally digitally store medical images, rendering CDs nothing but a bad memory. With the diagnostic tests stored in the cloud, or cyberspace, or in a huge bank of computers (all the same thing) there is nothing but a few mouse clicks separating doctors from these tests, no matter where they are in the entire world.

The technology is up and running, but unfortunately there is no one national system storing these files. This is not a problem as long as you stay within one HMO or another medical network. However, if you want a specialist outside your network to see your tests, you could be forced to deliver to him a CD.

Until the problem is solved with a national, centralized home for medical tests, be sure to ask if your network can transfer your tests to outside networks as well as within the system. Having such an ability could save you time and worry.