Comments for: Maine launches first-in-the-nation medical image archive

Posted June 06, 2012, at 7:06 p.m.
Last modified June 07, 2012, at 1:58 p.m.

Maine doctors will have access to patient X-rays, mammograms and other medical images regardless of their location as part of a new electronic archive described as a nationwide first. The archive is expected to free health care providers from the hassle and cost of copying scans to CDs when a …

CORRECTION:

An earlier version of this story implied that Eastern Maine Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital do not electronically share medical imaging records. The two hospitals can share medical imaging records electronically.

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  • Anonymous

    Nice idea, but presents a BIG risk for compromising medical confidentiality.

    The huge numbers of drs., radiologists, techs., IT persons, etc. that will have access to this system and patient’s medical info, AND possibility that those with access will misuse for their access for personal or curiousity reasons that violate patient privacy! HIPA and other medical confidentiality laws are only good for the few that actually get caught.
     
    Risk of patient privacy being compromised is likely why other Boston etc. hospitals haven’t done this yet.

    Hope they give patients the choice of ‘opting out’.  

    • Anonymous

       My first thought was hope it was with permission only. Maybe you just need an implant with all your data.

  • Anonymous

    As a healthcare provider, in my experience, Healthinfonet is junk. Most patients have no information at all, which makes it useless. The system is extremely glitchy, and is frequently down for maintenance. I’d estimate using HiN is useless in about 80% of cases I load the website. 

  • Anonymous

    I’m all for convenience, but potential confidentiality violations are more of a concern than my convenience.  Plus, how hard is it really to “lug a CD 2 miles”?    

    I’d be interested if it could contribute to reducing the cost of care, but with hospitals that aren’t able to communicate whether or not a patient has had a chest CT that costs 2 thousand dollars…I have to wonder if the problem is with convenience, laziness, or sheer stupidity – especially when you consider how many things must be pre approved and recommended by a primary care physician first.  How would they NOT know?

    • Ben Hutchins

       Lugging a CD two miles isn’t hard.  Heck, lugging a CD 360 miles isn’t hard.

      Lugging a CD 360 miles and then having your distant über-specialist’s computer fail to read the disc, on the other hand?  That’s hard, and then – as you leave more or less empty-handed to begin the long trek back home, having wasted your own and your specialist’s time – you begin to wonder why you’re using the hand-carried CD method to convey simple graphical data across a few hundred miles in the year 2012.

  • Guest

    Next the State will be lobbied by insurance companies to look over peoples medical records. Just wait.  The program is probably funded by insurance compaines.

    • Anonymous

      That is precisely my concern. Once insurance companies get access, can they do a ‘background check’ on any potential policy holder and consequently, jack up the premium or refuse coverage altogether simply because an x-ray shows arthritis or a mammogram shows some benign condition? Or how about an otherwise healthy person who once got an MRI for a bum back or knee? While it would be great for health care professionals to get quick easy access to records, the possibilities for abuse of this system are endless.

      • Guest

        Of course this will be controlled by insurance…….what in our life isn’t? You are also correct that they have the ability to charge you anything they darn well please for a premium whether it’s your health, car, house or motorcycle. The insurance companies are not regulated at all and run this country!! NOT a good deal for the consumer!!

      • Anonymous

        The new health care law prohibits this practice.  Now we just have to wait and see if the SCOTUS upholds the law. If not, insurance companies will continue business as usual and deny care and deny policies based on preexisting conditions.

        • Anonymous

          It would go farther than that when Insurance companies would call employers and “suggest” layoff of employees who raise the rates for a company group.  A practice which is clandestine and never admitted.

  • Anonymous

    I live in Houlton, but all of my specialists are down around Bangor. This system should work if it is done correctly. It is a pain to have to go to the hospital, ask for the CD, come back another day to pick it up and then make sure I take it with me. 
    Every healthcare provider I see, either here in Houlton or down by Bangor ask me on the spot if I want my information to be included in the HealthinfoNet. I can opt out right then and there.
    Only medical providers should have access to this. As long as it stays that way, I see no problems with it.
    At least with a system like this, you know who is looking at your records by long in info. Can you say the same about the current system?

    • Anonymous

      As has previously been pointed out, this would be a gold mine if it got into the hands of insurance companies. As it is, doctors have already provided confidential patient information, far beyond the need to know, to pharmaceutical and insurance companies; this just made that job easier and, potentially, more tempting to medical providers to make some quick cash. The vast majority of providers are honest and above this, but it only takes one or two to compromise the system of patient confidentiality.

    • Anonymous

      There is nothing stored on computers with internet access that is private.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s just to make the records more secure and readable. We will not share your private information.” I said this would happen from day one.

    • Anonymous

      Right up there with”Honestly farmer, I was just helping that sheep over the fence”.

  • Superuser23

    There goes my privacy….

  • Anonymous

    Just to clarify, these picture archiving systems are closed, available only to physicians caring for the patients in participating facilities. Eastern Maine Medical Center is already offering such an image sharing system with hospitals and health centers who refer patients to us. Our system currently includes 12 active participants, 10 hospitals and two health centers. An additional 14 facilities in our region have interface capabilities with EMMC’s system, so that images can be shared from other picture archiving systems when patients are transferred. This latest development at HealthInfoNet will apply a single statewide approach to regional systems that are already working very well to serve the needs of the patients, reduce repeat imaging exams and consequently the cost of care. 

    • Anonymous

      Sorry, meant to mention that one of the hospitals in our system is St. Joseph Hospital, so the example in the article is wrong. Patients don’t have to “lug CD’s two miles” between us. Those image files are shared electronically and available to physicians at both hospitals within the same picture archiving system.

      • Anonymous

         Jill, are you saying that the company doing this integration of archives cannot access their own programs and servers? And that information traveling from point A to point B cannot be intercepted or hacked?

        • Anonymous

          I can’t speak for HealthInfoNet about their product. I have suggested to them that comments posted here indicate lots of concerns about info security and that they need to share more information about their efforts in this regard. Amy Landry, below, works for HIN and she suggests the program’s website below for more information that may help answer your questions. Thanks for the question! It’s important.

  • Anonymous

    HealthInfoNet’s system is only available to health care providers in Maine. The goal is to make it quicker and easier for your health care providers to share your medical information when necessary to support your health care. Insurance companies are not given access to patients’ records nor do they fund the organization. HealthInfoNet receives its funding from the health care organizations that use it to provide care for their patients. Images, just like the other information in the system, are accessed only when needed to support patient care. Learn more at http://www.hinfonet.org. Most patients choose to have their information available in HealthInfoNet, but it’s not for everyone. Patients can opt-out at http://www.hinfonet.org/optout, or the next time they visit a participating provider they can fill out the opt-out form available at registration.

  • Anonymous

    HealthInfoNet’s system is only available to health care providers in
    Maine. The goal is to make it quicker and easier for your health care
    providers to share your medical information when necessary to support
    your health care. Insurance companies are not given access to patients’
    records nor do they fund the organization. HealthInfoNet receives its
    funding from the health care organizations that use it to provide care
    for their patients. Images, just like the other information in the
    system, are accessed only when needed to support patient care. Learn
    more at http://www.hinfonet.org. Most patients choose to have their information
    available in HealthInfoNet, but it’s not for everyone. Patients can
    opt-out at http://www.hinfonet.org/optout, or the next time they visit a
    participating provider they can fill out the opt-out form available at
    registration.

  • Anonymous

    HealthInfoNet’s system is only available to health care providers in
    Maine. The goal is to make it quicker and easier for your health care
    providers to share your medical information when necessary to support
    your health care. Insurance companies are not given access to patients’
    records nor do they fund the organization. HealthInfoNet receives its
    funding from the health care organizations that use it to provide care
    for their patients. Images, just like the other information in the
    system, are accessed only when needed to support patient care. Learn
    more at http://www.hinfonet.org. Most patients choose to have their information
    available in HealthInfoNet, but it’s not for everyone. Patients can
    opt-out at http://www.hinfonet.org/optout, or the next time they visit a
    participating provider they can fill out the opt-out form available at
    registration.

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