Case Studies

How PocketHealth Helped a Multi-Site Healthcare System go to Zero CD

The Challenge

CDs were causing friction and negatively impacting patient care.

The process for sharing imaging and diagnostic reports at Niagara Health, much like many healthcare facilities across North America, was to put the information on CDs.

Not only was this labor-intensive for practitioners dealing with a high volume of tests, but using this outdated technology caused delays to deliver vital information to doctors, other departments or patients themselves.

Also there was not a simple way to share imaging between different facilities. Patients, on top of the stress of illness and uncertainty, faced the added burden of carrying their own imaging in the form of CDs from one facility to another to keep their care on-track.

How do you make image sharing efficient and reliable with all the manual processes involved? CDs were causing a constant hurdle for providing optimal patient care, creating added friction for practitioners and making the patient experience more challenging than it needed to be.

“Working with PocketHealth has transformed the way we work with our patients,” says Mike Sharma, Director of Diagnostics at Niagara Health. “Now, patients can get their images as soon as they are available. They can access their images without leaving home and share their records securely with their healthcare team.”

“Working with PocketHealth has transformed the way we work with our patients.”

Mike Sharma, Director of Diagnostics at Niagara Health

Mike Sharma, Director of Diagnostics at Niagara Health

The Solution

PocketHealth enabled Niagara Health to easily and securely share medical imaging with patients and providers. 

In March 2021, Niagara Health partnered with PocketHealth to remove the barriers to better patient care. “Now we’re making it simple, secure and easy for patients to access and share their images,” says John Heikoop, Diagnostic Services Manager at Niagara Health. “PocketHealth just made sense.”

Niagara Health started with PocketHealth for Patients to enable patients to access and share their medical imaging for a small fee. A key advantage for patients is that the mobile-friendly system can be accessed by any device, including smartphones and tablets. In addition, the intuitive design means it’s easy for patients to securely view, download or share their records with their doctor or specialist by any channel they want, including email, fax and print.

They can also safely manage their imaging from the comfort of home, a benefit for everyone including elderly patients and those with chronic diseases.

“One of the great benefits is that it’s easy for patients to use,” says Heikoop, a registered technologist with over 20 years of experience. “It’s an intuitive service for patients to learn and it helps facilitate communications between patients and their healthcare team.”

Implementation was a smooth and straightforward process, without the lengthy wait times that often come with having to integrate new software into an existing system, he says. Another bonus, PocketHealth led the customized training and roll-out for staff, making the transition seamless and the change management required almost non-existent.

To fully eliminate the need for CDs, his team upgraded to PocketHealth for Providers in June 2021 to include both patient and provider-sharing capabilities. Niagara Health can now seamlessly and securely share imaging with any facility, across any network, allowing practitioners to easily consult with providers at outside facilities.

“We want to make the care journey as easy as possible for our patients. And PocketHealth helps us do that.”

John Heikoop, Diagnostics Services Manager at Niagara Health

John Heikoop, Diagnostics Services Manager at Niagara Health

The Results

Niagara Health has transformed how it communicates diagnostic imaging and cardio-diagnostics results with the ease and convenience of PocketHealth. 

The Niagara Health team can upload images and reports and share them immediately with patients, along with other practitioners and facilities, across any network. Giving patients the ability to access and share their medical imaging ultimately alleviates a lot of stress for them, many of whom may be going through a difficult time.

If a Niagara Health physician shares imaging instantly with a physician at an outside facility, they can discuss over the phone or email while both looking over the same reports for real-time collaboration and treatment planning. Having that instant access to accurate, high-quality imaging speeds up time to diagnosis and treatment for patients.

To note, the team has completely stopped using CDs to share diagnostic imaging, resulting in significant cost and time savings. The technology has been so well-received, Niagara Health has also incorporated PocketHealth right into its patient portal, the Niagara Health Navigator mobile app. “All patients need to do is click on it through our Navigator app so it’s all in one place on your phone. It’s easy to find and start using right away,” says Sharma. In a recent Globe and Mail article, Sharma estimates that the switch to PocketHealth has saved Niagara Health more than $100,000 a year in materials and staff costs.

But the goal really has been to put patients front and center, empowering them in their own health journey.

“That’s the whole reason why we’re here,” adds Heikoop. “We want to make the care journey as easy as possible for our patients. And PocketHealth helps us do that.”

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