Mammosphere today launched “Where’s My Mammogram?,” a public service campaign to help women obtain copies of prior diagnostic breast images from their physicians. The campaign is intended to empower women to become active participants in their breast health, and to improve clinical outcomes of regular breast cancer screening for women over 40.
Under current federal law, women can request copies of their mammograms from their doctors, who are obligated to provide them in whatever format patients request at a reasonable expense, and within 30 days. Having prior images and health history available to clinicians at the time of diagnosis has long been shown to significantly improve clinical outcomes and save lives.
“Our campaign, which will run during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is intended to help women play an active role in managing their breast health,” said Dr. Kathryn Pearson Peyton, a breast-imaging radiologist who founded Mammosphere and serves as chair of its Women’s Health Advisory Board. “Many women aren’t aware of the importance of having their past mammograms available for comparison at the time of screening. And navigating the health care system to get those prior medical records can be daunting. Where’s My Mammogram? aims to make it easier.”
When doctors have immediate access to prior breast images, false positives are reduced by 40 to 60 percent; 30 percent of actual cancers are caught earlier, and diagnosis of breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes is reduced by 12 percent, according to clinical studies.
Information on how to obtain prior diagnostic images and other useful information is available at http://info.lifeimage.com/mammosphere/wheres-my-mammogram.
Nancy M. Cappello, Ph.D., founder of Are You Dense, Inc. and Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc., said, “We join in supporting Mammosphere’s efforts to ensure that doctors and their patients have readily available access to complete patient prior imaging, enabling informed breast health decisions without delay.”
Tools available at http://info.lifeimage.com/mammosphere/wheres-my-mammogram include a letter template for requesting breast images in writing, a telephone script for asking for images by phone, and facts about the importance of having prior images available during regular breast cancer screenings.
Women are guaranteed access to their health records, including prior diagnostic breast images, under HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, a landmark federal law regarding health records.
“Mammosphere believes that women must be able to control their health records so they can share their medical records with their care team, or anyone else they choose” said Matthew A. Michela, president and CEO of Life Image, the parent company of Mammosphere.
“Every woman needs to know that she has a right to her own data. But, unfortunately, women are telling us they are having difficulty obtaining their records, as required by law, from their physician offices. This is not a technology problem. The technology exists. Therefore, this educational campaign is vital to increasing awareness among clinicians, patients, and patient advocacy groups that women have the right to access their own records.”