Millions of imaging tests are performed in the United States each year. Although most of these exams are interpreted by a radiologist, patients usually receive their results from the ordering physician. In many cases, the radiologist, as the imaging expert, is actually the physician best equipped to explain imaging findings. Lightbulb Radiology bridges this gap between the radiologist and the patient.
“I came up with the idea after helping several friends and family members with questions about their own imaging,“says Dr. Rourke Stay, the founder of Lightbulb Radiology.” I found I was often able to give them a better appreciation for their imaging findings and what they really mean.”
The site, lightbulbradiology.com, allows a patient to upload his/her imaging test through a secure network and then schedule a consult with the radiologist. From the comfort of their own home, patients can see and understand their imaging test (such as an MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound) and see and talk with the radiologist. This enables the patient to ask questions and empowers them to make the best choices about their health care.
“Whether it be a lumbar spine MRI in a patient with chronic back pain, an incidental liver lesion seen on a CT scan of the abdomen, or a PET scan in a patient with cancer, the online consult provides a great way for patients to understand what is going on in their own body,” says Dr. Stay.
The launch of Lightbulb Radiology coincides with three converging trends in medicine: 1) the use of more accessible telemedicine platforms to deliver care, 2) radiologists becoming more visible and 3) the increased availability of radiology reports and other medical records through patient portals.
About the radiologist: Dr. Stay is a board certified radiologist who trained at the University of Virginia and also completed a fellowship in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the U of California—San Diego.