Wondering how quickly you can see your ultrasound results online? With PocketHealth, your health records are at your fingertips.
Ultrasounds use high-frequency sound waves to capture internal images of the body. An important diagnostic tool, they help your practitioner better visualize soft tissue structures, including organs, to better understand shape, development or irregularities. Ultrasounds don’t use radiation, so they are considered safer for monitoring fetal development during pregnancy.
Having access to your medical records is the law according to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) in the U.S. and the Privacy Act in Canada, including Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) at the provincial level. It also gives you the freedom to take control of your health and share your results with any care provider you choose, making it easy to get a second opinion and compare medical images over time. This article breaks down what you can expect when it comes to accessing your ultrasound results, including:
- How long it takes to get your ultrasound results
- The benefits of having access to your ultrasound images and reports
- What your online ultrasound results might show
Knowing where to access and how to understand your ultrasound results helps you have more informative conversations when discussing the results with your referring practitioner. With PocketHealth you can securely store, access, understand and share all your images and reports in one place. Access your records here.
How long do you typically wait for ultrasound results?
Your referring physician will likely schedule a follow-up appointment with you to review your results once they are available. Although, on average, it can take up to a week to receive your ultrasound results, how long you wait depends on different factors, including:
- Urgency. If your ultrasound is to explore a sudden injury or an unexpected symptom, you may be sent for an ultrasound quickly, and your doctor will request the results quickly.
- Complexity. In some cases, complex injuries or illnesses may require more than one radiologist to review the results or repeat imaging. This can slow down the time it takes your doctor to receive your results and how long it takes for your follow-up appointment to be scheduled.
- More information required. Your doctor may send you for another ultrasound appointment if the radiologist requests more information than your initial imaging can provide. This can delay how long it takes you to have your follow-up appointment to discuss the results.
- Comparing with previous scans. If your doctor is monitoring a chronic injury or illness, the radiologist will likely want to see any previous ultrasound imaging you’ve received to compare the results. If you don’t have your previous ultrasound pictures online all in one place or haven’t used the same clinic for past scans, it may take some time to get all your imaging to the radiologist and delay your follow-up appointment.
- Mode of transmission. How quickly the radiologist sends your results to your referring physician impacts how soon you’ll have your follow-up appointment to discuss your results. Ultrasound clinics may send your results by email or fax, which can sometimes delay how quickly your doctor receives the results.
If you are pregnant, your OB-GYN or midwife will send you for regular, scheduled ultrasounds to track the growth of the baby and monitor how your body is responding. These appointments will be booked ahead of time, and you will typically attend a follow-up appointment or receive a call about your results. In some cases, you may attend many pregnancy ultrasound appointments in a short period of time, depending on the trimester of pregnancy you’re in.
5 benefits of having access to your ultrasound results
Access to your ultrasound results can take some time, and it can be nerve-wracking waiting for your physician to share your ultrasound results at a follow-up appointment. PocketHealth helps you take control of your healthcare journey by giving you fast, easy and secure access to your ultrasound results, as soon as they are available.
Here are 5 ways PocketHealth helps make sure you are a partner, not a passenger, in your own care:
- You get faster, easier access. PocketHealth allows you to see your images and reports the moment the radiologist releases them, and you can view them from any device. No need to wait for your follow-up doctor’s appointment.
- You can share your results. If you want to keep your entire healthcare team up to date or need a second opinion, you can email, print or fax a secure access page to another practitioner from your account. And that practitioner doesn’t need a PocketHealth account to view your ultrasound images online in full, diagnostic quality.
- You can ask more informed questions. Your ultrasound report might contain complex medical terms you’re unfamiliar with. With PocketHealth Report Reader, you can easily understand what those terms mean, allowing you to have more informed conversations with your practitioner during a follow-up appointment.
- You’ll never miss a follow-up. A study from the American College of Radiology reports that 60% of medical imaging recommendations are never followed up on. PocketHealth Report Reader also spotlights any follow-up recommendations, allowing you to be on top of your next steps.
- You own your records. All your records are secured with bank-level encryption technology and will always be centralized in one place for you to access and share. PocketHealth secure storage helps you avoid requesting records in writing, which can take 30-60 days and may require a fee.
With access to your ultrasound imaging ad report, PocketHealth enables you to arrive at your next doctor’s appointment feeling informed and ready to participate in your healthcare journey.
What will my online ultrasound results show?
Ultrasound technology uses sound waves to detect the shape and structural components of different parts of your body. Depending on the density and amount of liquid in the area of your body being explored, your ultrasound images will appear in shades of black and grey.
Areas that contain a lot of fluid or liquid, like cysts, or the amniotic fluid during pregnancy, will appear black, while tissue that contains less fluid will appear grey. Very dense tissue and bone will appear white. Understanding how dense certain tissue is allows the radiologist to determine whether there are any irregularities in your images.
Ultrasounds can produce two-dimensional (2D) flat images, or combine multiple 2D images to create a longer three-dimensional (3D) video sequence. In the vast majority of cases, 2D ultrasounds are just as effective as 3D ultrasounds at providing the radiologist with the information they need to analyze your images.
It is important that you attend any scheduled follow-up appointments with your physician to discuss the results of your ultrasound. Even if you can access our own images and report, your physician can give you essential insights into your results and discuss any next steps with you. Understanding what your ultrasound images show can help you have an in-depth discussion with your doctor about your results, so you have all the information you need to decide what’s next.
If you use PocketHealth to access your online ultrasound results, Report Reader can help you understand certain medical terms in your ultrasound report. Report Reader provides simple, clear definitions for complex terms and identifies follow-up recommendations, allowing you to keep tabs on any next steps.
Who has access to my ultrasound results?
Your ultrasound results may be available to many different parties, depending on your individual case. Here’s a list of Individuals and other parties who may have access to your ultrasound results:
- You. Patients are legally allowed access to their own medical records, including imaging and reports under HIPAA in the U.S. and the PHIPA in Canada. You can gain access to your medical records through some patient portals or via secure online platforms like PocketHealth.
- The ultrasound technologist. Your ultrasound will be conducted by a trained technologist, who will capture the images during your procedure before sending them to the radiologist.
- The radiologist. The clinic or hospital where you get your ultrasound will have radiologists on staff to closely review your imaging and create a report based on what they see. This report is sent directly to your referring physician or midwife. You can get access as soon as the report is ready using PocketHealth.
- Your primary care provider (often a referring physician or midwife). The radiologist will send your ultrasound images and report to your primary care provider, who will review the results and discuss them with you at a follow-up appointment.
- Parent or legal guardian. In cases where a minor requires an ultrasound, a parent or legal guardian will have access to their medical reports to facilitate medical care and treatment.
Advocate or caregiver. In cases where a patient cannot sign a consent form to receive their medical records, their advocate or caregiver will receive the records on their behalf.
- Insurance companies. When an ultrasound is required to assess the details of an injury or treatment requiring insurance coverage, an insurance company has the right to review medical imaging and reports.
- Care facilities. Nurses and staff at long-term care facilities can view the records of patients who require specialized care. Treatment is often ongoing, and staff need up-to-date medical records to provide the best care.
- Rehabilitation centers. Patients who visit a rehabilitation center may require medical treatment during their stay, and attendant doctors or nurses can view their records to ensure they provide the best care.
- Hospitals and labs. These facilities often need to review current and prior medical records, including ultrasound imaging and reports, to make sure they can provide the appropriate treatment and recommendations.
Being an advocate for your health
Waiting for your ultrasound results can be stressful, but having secure access to your images and reports allows you to understand your results ahead of an appointment with your physician. This means you can prepare more informed questions about any next steps in your healthcare journey and become a participant in your care.
How PocketHealth works
Learn how PocketHealth can help you to securely access and share your ultrasound records.