Never Miss a Medical Imaging Follow-Up Recommendation

medical follow-up navigator demo on smartphone

PocketHealth launches Follow-Up Navigator to help you keep tabs on any recommended medical imaging follow-ups.

Medical imaging is a critical step in identifying and treating a variety of health issues. Without it, early diagnosis would be near impossible. Whether you’ve had many scans in the past or are preparing for your first imaging appointment, one of the biggest questions on your mind may be: “What happens next?”

In many imaging reports, there are recommendations for additional imaging. But, 60% of those recommendations are never followed up on according to a 2021 study, which could lead to several implications, including:

  • Missed or delayed diagnosis
  • Further disease progression that could have been caught and managed early
  • Potential for increased healthcare costs if more advanced or aggressive treatments are required because of delayed diagnosis

That’s why PocketHealth has launched Follow-Up Navigator as part of Report Reader—so you never miss a critical next step in your healthcare journey.

What is a medical follow-up?

A medical follow-up is intended to monitor your health over time, after a specific course of treatment or procedure.

After you complete any recommended imaging (e.g., X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, etc.), a radiologist reviews those images and summarizes the findings into a report for your recommending physician to review. Sometimes, these reports contain specific recommendations for additional follow-up imaging, investigation or treatment.

This could manifest in many ways, whether it’s another imaging scan in a few months or a follow-up appointment with a specialist. Here are some examples:

  • A patient with fibrocystic breast tissue may have follow-up ultrasound scans every 6 months for two years to monitor cyst size and location
  • A patient with an ACL tear may need a follow-up MRI to ensure the injury has healed properly
  • A patient with a history of mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks) may require a follow-up with a specialist (e.g., neurologist) after a neurological CT scan

How do I know I need a follow-up?

Unless you receive a copy of the imaging report (and can easily decipher the medical jargon without a tool like Report Reader), it can be difficult to know if and when you need any additional follow-ups. Your referring physician will generally review your results with you and identify follow-ups, including additional appointments, imaging or referrals. It can be difficult to keep track of follow-up recommendations and administrative errors can happen in today’s overburdened medical system.

With Follow-Up Navigator you can easily keep tabs on any recommended medical follow-ups and have all of your follow-ups stored in one central location. As part of the Report Reader functionality, Follow-Up Navigator:

  • Instantly accesses your imaging report
  • Provides definitions to key terms and identifies follow-up recommendations
  • Underlines and makes the word “follow up” clickable within the imaging report
  • Includes a reminder pop-up with instructions on when to book any follow-up imaging or appointments

medical follow-up navigator 4-step process

No one wants to accidentally miss any diagnostic follow-up imaging or specialist appointments that could prevent or shorten an illness. With Follow-Up Navigator, you have the tools and knowledge to advocate for your own health and take control of your follow-ups, which reduces the risk of missed or delayed treatment.

“I have to get ultrasounds once a year because they found cysts on my kidneys. Using Report Reader I can look at my regular imaging to understand what has changed and when [Follow-Up Navigator] says I need to follow up, I know what next steps to take.”

– Wanda, Chronically ill patient

Why is it important for me to keep track of my follow-ups?

Having access to your imaging reports helps avoid certain issues that other patients may experience, such as scattered reports from switching providers or a delayed recommendation to a specialist.

And when you review your imaging report and recommendations before meeting with your primary care physician, you have the chance to educate yourself in advance, so you can prepare more informed questions and understand what follow-ups are needed.

You’re in control of your healthcare journey

Knowing what lies ahead helps you become a more informed patient, so you can play a more active role in your healthcare journey going forward.

With tools like Report Reader definitions and Follow-Up Navigator in your back pocket, you’ll have critical medical information at your fingertips. Whether it’s having more knowledgeable conversations with your healthcare providers, booking follow-up appointments, or just for peace of mind, PocketHealth supports you along your care journey.

Access your records today to see how PocketHealth helps patients retrieve, share and understand their imaging reports.

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