Because access to prior mammograms is critical for women during all stages of breast health, Life Image is offering free membership during October — Breast Cancer Awareness Month — to its unique health management platform.
At the same time, the global network for sharing clinical and imaging data is launching “My Data, My Rights,” a campaign aimed at heightening awareness of patients’ rights to obtain and own their health information, the importance of controlling personal health data, and information on how to gain records.
Its health management app, called Mammosphere, allows women to electronically request their breast imaging records from physicians, store them securely, and share them with their care team.
During routine screenings, records of previous screens are important in making comparisons. Their use is known to lower the number of false positives by 40-60 percent, the company reports, and to help physicians in spotting 30 percent of malignancies earlier that they might otherwise, when a cancer is more treatable.
“We encourage women to own their medical records so they are free to share with a care team, advocate for their own health or to contribute to breast cancer research. Mammosphere is a unique tool that can overcome the many technical challenges of compiling diagnostic images and combining them with other data such as labs and reports,” Matthew A. Michela, Life Image’s president and CEO, said in a press release.
“Data sharing with patients is not a technology issue,” Michela added. “The federal government recognizes this as a compliance problem and has been very active recently to mandate systemwide changes with strict penalties to prevent data blocking and give consumers more control.”
Under the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, patients have the right, within 30 days of requests, to receive their medical data in a form and format of their choice. Still, a recent Yale University-led study indicated high levels of noncompliance among 83 hospitals in 29 states, and recommended stricter enforcement, Life Image reported.
Because of such noncompliance, millions of women arrive at cancer screenings or oncology visits without their prior mammograms. Others arrive with mammograms as hard copies or on CDs, which the company said are somewhat outdated formats for use.
“Over 60 million women receive breast care in the U.S. With such a large and engaged population, the consumer experience around this should be one of the most seamless and modern experiences in healthcare,” said Cristin Gardner, director of Life Image’s consumer division.
“As part of our corporate citizenship in the month of October, we are committed to helping to empower women with information and tools to take control of their breast health data while also continuing to raise awareness among healthcare offices about the federal rules that support the patient’s right to own and control their medical data.”
The company’s monthlong ‘My Data, My Rights’ effort will focus on the Chicago area, along with Minnesota, Massachusetts, Virginia, Rhode Island, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and North and South Dakota. It is collaborating with area leaders and nonprofit and advocacy groups, including Are You Dense, an organization that educates about the risks and screening challenges of dense breast tissue.
“As an organization focused on educating women on the risks and challenges associated with dense breast tissue, we know that knowledge is critical for advocacy,” said Joe Cappello, Are You Dense co-founder. “We are excited to partner with Mammosphere for Breast Cancer Month to advance our shared goal of educating and empowering women to take control of their breast health experience.”