MRI and CT tests – is there more than meets the eye?

The evolution of technologies and ever-expanding coverage of broadband internet has triggered a shift in the way healthcare providers position themselves with respect to the patient.

Traditionally, because in the past decades patients needed to visit their doctors at the hospital or at the clinic, the doctor was the one under pressure to efficiently manage his time and resources in order to treat more patients in the best possible way. But things are now starting to change, clinics and healthcare institutions can take advantage of the plethora of means available for patient-doctor communication, including e-mail, apps and instant messaging platforms. What’s more important is that there’s no longer a need to save MRI or CT scans to DVDs, USB drives or CDs and force patients to leave the clinic with a folder full of documents, X-Rays or DVDs with imaging investigations that are prone to loss or deterioration.

Many of the most common afflictions that need imaging investigations also need constant monitoring and so for a doctor that sees a patient for the first time, context is very important. Bringing a handful of DVDs to the doctor’s office isn’t a very efficient means of providing information, especially if the physician that needs to give you a check-up is out of town and you need to deliver the investigations yourself. Usually, MRI and CT scans are saved onto DVDs because they contain rather large image files that don’t fit on smaller storage mediums, but the problem with optical storage is it’s very prone to scratches and cracks that might render the data unreadable. Also, DVDs tend to get lost or mixed up, so keeping track of what’s actually important turns out to be difficult.

A patient-centric approach to healthcare means empowering patients to take control of their options

The Medicai platform is built with a focus around these patient’s needs and aims to bridge the gap between patients, their data and physicians that already use modern technologies in other areas of their lives.

Moreover, in many cases, patients are overwhelmed with information or just need the time to take in news regarding their personal health. Sometimes being in a clinic and trying to make sense of all the information you’re provided can be challenging. What happens if you forget what the doctor told you during your visit? What if you forget something you really thought was important and never get the chance to ask? Or maybe the doctor figures something out looking over your data and needs to ask you some more questions after your visit. This is why an online platform where you can access all your information in one place, evaluate the options you have and communicating easily with specialists really matters.

Patients have the opportunity to gather all their information, upload it, think about the options they have and constantly be in touch with someone who can lend a hand. Medicai aims for easy integration with existent medical storage systems (called PACS), so getting data out of traditionally closed medical systems is now an accessible option for healthcare providers.

Most clinics or hospitals have a multitude of storage systems, each one with different graphical user interfaces and processes that they facilitate. This means data is very often trapped inside these systems and can only be accessed on-premise. The Medicai platform aims to change that, enabling clinics, doctors, and patients to free their data and communicate easily without space and time boundaries, ultimately contributing to the patient’s quick treatment and wellbeing.

An online platform for patients and doctors – a PACS that lives in the cloud

Cloud technologies today encompass more than you think. Your smartphone and almost anything on it lives in the cloud. Your e-mail is in the cloud, cars and home appliances are also connected to the cloud.

Nowadays, even smart TVs are a way of accessing cloud-based data. Data stored in the cloud has the unique quality of being accessible anywhere, anytime, as long as there’s a working internet connection. Modern online storage systems employ encryption and advanced security measures so unauthorized access is virtually impossible. Moreover, cloud-based systems manage stored data in accordance with laws and regulations that protect the privacy and user data.

This cloud-based paradigm empowers patients to share their medical imaging investigations (MRI, CT and PET-CT scans, medical documents and more) with almost anyone that has a working e-mail address. That means no more wasting time with appointments, commutes and waiting in line for your turn. No more versions of the same file, downloaded over and over again until you lose track of what’s where – everyone has the exact same files online and can easily collaborate on the case.

Anyone who has access to your personal data will need your approval and no personal data is shared with anyone without the patient’s express consent. Doctors can share difficult cases or can request an extra opinion from their peers if they feel the need to. Clinics and healthcare providers now have an effective and cost-efficient way of unlocking their data and finally store it online. All these new technologies that Medicai relies upon are in the overall benefit of the patient who will have faster access to more specialists that ultimately deliver the best treatment options.

What matters most is the patient’s wellbeing

Overall, the healthcare industry is starting to realise that the technological landscape has changed. Moreover, the patient’s mentality and expectations have changed in recent years. Soon, younger patients will no longer understand the need to wait in line or pass DVDs from one clinic to another. They’re used to having everything at their fingertips and aligning themselves with the traditional way of accessing medical services makes them feel like their options are being limited.

Patient’s lives are complex and their problems can’t be properly understood during a 20-minute check-up. They want to be able to ask questions, send more documents and request help fast. The shift that’s happening is in their favour – doctor-centric institutions that until recently focused solely on the physician’s objectives are now starting to develop more patient-focused approaches. Technology can now aid in the transmission of documents, storage and online access to information, no matter the time and place. That means faster access to treatment and more options that are better understood. In the end, the one that’s winning is the patient, and that’s how it should be.


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About the author - Alexandru Artimon

Co-founder of Medicai. Over 15 years of experience with deep expertise in enterprise healthcare systems software architecture. Graduated Computer Sciences, also has a Masters degree in parallel computing and cloud computing. Alex writes about developing large-scale enterprise applications using state-of-the-art software technologies in healthcare.