Patient Spotlight: How Reading Your Reports Helps You Be More Informed

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Our Patient Spotlight Series allows us to share stories from people in our community who have used PocketHealth to make positive changes in their lives. This week, we caught up with Dave, a cancer patient in Ontario who is using the service to better understand his condition and be more prepared for conversations with his physicians.

How did you learn about PocketHealth ?

I have Stage 3 pancreatic cancer. I went in for a routine X-ray and while I was waiting, I noticed the PocketHealth poster. I thought, ‘Well, that’s interesting,’ because when you go to see your oncologist, a lot of people don’t understand what’s going on. You don’t have a lot of insight into your own disease as far as depth and severity. I signed up for PocketHealth and all my CT scans and MRIs and doctors’ notes showed up in my account. I was able to sit down, read them and just take my time and absorb what was there. And not in a situation where I’m with the doctor and I’m worried about his time or when the next patient is coming in. I found it interesting and it helped me quite a bit.

How else was getting access to all your imaging helpful?

I saw scans I had going all the way back to 2013. I was able to look back and see what the doctors’ notes were because I don’t know if I was even told what they were at the time. It was nice to be able to look back and see what was said. Everything is going so fast when you’re in an office and the doctor says, ‘Do you have any questions?’ You kind of go blank sometimes. It’s just been dumped on you and you haven’t had a chance to really think about it. Now I can go over my records at my leisure, absorb them and have my questions ready for the next time I see him. 

After looking at your imaging, did you feel like you knew more about what was going on with your disease?

Actually, yes. I had a liver embolization in November 2020, then again in January 2021 and again in March of that year. When I went in to see my doctor, the doctor said, ‘Oh, your tumour shrank a little bit’ — and I know it’s a positive thing. But when I actually looked at those scans, I found out it shrunk by a whole centimetre. In my mind, it was better information than just hearing, “Oh, it shrunk.” I think it’s fantastic. It was something like $50 dollars for me to get PocketHealth and it’s a great piece of mind.

As a result of what you learned, have you done anything different with regards to your care?

A little bit. But I think it’s more the mental satisfaction that I get out of it. It takes the edge off. When you’re leaving your doctor’s appointment, everything has hit you all at once. Now you get a chance to see your results and actually understand what’s happening. When you have cancer, your condition is always in the back of your mind. When you actually see on paper that things have changed, especially for the positive, it makes you feel better.

In your experience, what sort of patients or people do you think would get the most value out of a tool like PocketHealth?

Patients with chronic diseases. People with cancer who are constantly getting scans or CTs or things like that. When somebody is chronically ill, they’re always looking for comparisons between your appointments or scans. You want to actually know for yourself the direction you’re going. I was lucky, I saw a positive change.  But if I hadn’t seen that PocketHealth poster, I wouldn’t have known the magnitude of the positive change. I think if the doctors promoted it, that would be great. If my doctor said to me, ‘Well, Dave we have this system called PocketHealth, you can look at your own imaging and if you have any questions, we can go over them. It would be really helpful for patients like me. 

PocketHealth is putting hundreds of thousands of patients just like Dave back in charge of their healthcare journey by giving them easy online access and ownership of all their medical imaging and making it a breeze to share this information with doctors and care providers around the world. To access your medical imaging and records, please visit us here.


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