How Medical Image Sharing Can Lead to Privacy Issues

How can medical image sharing lead to privacy issues? TeleRay Chief Technology Officer Cody Neville highlights different delivery methods for medical images and explains how TeleRay’s methodology allows hospitals and doctors to know they are sending images to the correct patient.

Electronic Health Record Integration

How does TeleRay integrate with electronic health records, and what information is transferred? TeleRay CEO Tim Kelley explains the platform’s functionality and benefits.

DICOM, Interoperability, and the Patient Experience

In the digital age of healthcare, accessibility is critical. On the patient side, access to their health records, vital information, and providers drives more engagement. On the provider side, access to patient data in aggregate sets the stage for delivering a higher standard of care. These two sides of accessibility create a better patient experience — and they’re both made possible thanks to interoperability.

Interoperability is more than a buzzword in healthcare — it’s a crucial concept that needs constant attention and improvement as telehealth and digital healthcare systems evolve. Unfortunately, interoperability challenges persist in the current healthcare environment, prompting technology innovators to pursue standardizations, like DICOM.

Standardization as a means of data mobilization

Standardization levels the playing field for how healthcare data is created, formatted, stored, shared, and used. And it’s this standardization that directly enables interoperability. Interoperability, as defined by HIMSS, is the “ability of different information systems, devices and applications (systems) to access, exchange, integrate and cooperatively use data in a coordinated manner, within and across organizational, regional and national boundaries, to provide timely and seamless portability of information and optimize the health of individuals and populations globally.”

Take diagnostic imaging data, for example. A CAT scan generated on-site needs to yield the same level of insight when viewed off-site by a specialist, or even years later, when compared side by side to a current scan. That scan needs to preserve data no matter how many times it’s accessed, where it’s stored, or what applications is used to access it.

Standardizing medical data practices enables mobility and accessibility without loss of integrity. It’s why standards like DICOM exist for medical imaging data, HL7 for test results reporting, or SNOMED CT for standardizing medical terminology around the world. The goal is ubiquitous understanding, and it starts by ensuring everyone is using the same tools, following the same methods, and communicating with the same words.

Standardization is important and it has certainly helped, but it is not the sole solution needed for healthcare imagery. Interoperability is the next critical step in the process to ensure the images are safely and securely stored for easy and reliable access.

The growing importance of interoperability

Healthcare around the world is undergoing a booming technological evolution. The result is an increasing number of digital innovations, producing exponential amounts of data. Not only is this data important and insightful; it’s also deeply interconnected and critical to the delivery of patient care.

Leading the charge in generating critical data is medical imaging. As imaging technologies have evolved to include point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) and similar frontline diagnostic tools, providers have become increasingly reliant on imaging throughout the patient journey. Standardization of this data — primarily thanks to DICOM — has fueled the rise of medical imaging applications to meet demand.

But DICOM alone hasn’t necessarily created interoperability. Providers’ adherence to DICOM is what has allowed medical imaging to become more accessible across the spectrum of care. It’s one thing to move data from A to B, but if you can’t use it, you haven’t achieved anything. The cleanup of tags, file set readers, and pixel data value sets — aligned with DICOM standards — ensures images can be restored wherever they’re sent. This is critical in trauma, triage, and mission-critical situations where patients can’t afford to be rescanned.

A direct impact on the patient experience

Interoperability of healthcare data across systems has a tangible impact on patients, specifically as it pertains to outcomes and experience. For instance, interoperability of radiology — the de facto diagnostic tool — is critical, and something TeleRay provides on a daily basis. With TeleRay, healthcare teams can ensure:

  • Increased speed to care
  • Faster diagnosis
  • Lower costs
  • Less frustration
  • More patient throughput
  • Better outcomes

The key is ensuring radiology images are not only kept to a high standard at the point of care, but that they can be restorable to view in future healthcare events. Without this ability, patients may succumb to unnecessary rescans, slow speed to care, or, in the event of a trauma or emergency, potential fatality.

Diagnostic imaging as a frontline treatment tool, coupled with DICOM standards to ensure interoperability, marks a new paradigm for healthcare and the potential of digitized data. It allows providers to do their jobs quicker, better, and more confidently, which leads to trust, optimism, and engagement from patients. In a world of value-based care, it’s an all-important relationship — one that’s actionable at every level.

Standardization sets the standard for experience

Interoperability in healthcare is a foundational concept — one that will continue to define the patient experience as digitization becomes more prevalent across the spectrum of care. The ability to share patient data among systems, with no loss of quality or integrity, creates a level of continuity that directly benefits patients and providers alike. It’s all built atop standardizations like DICOM to create uniformity resulting in accessibility.

Learn more about the importance of interoperability at

Benefits of TeleRay’s RMC

What are the benefits of TeleRay’s Remote Modality Controller (RMC)?

TeleRay Chief Technology Officer Cody Neville highlights some of the key advantages of the new Remote Modality Controller, the latest innovation in distance healthcare.

Building the Most Secure Data Transmission System

Healthcare data is anything but static. From the moment it’s generated — at the point of an ultrasound scan, for example — health data is instantly injected into an ecosystem where mobility and accessibility are crucial. Personal Health Information (PHI) is endlessly valuable to patients, physicians, specialists, and even emerging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies designed to help automate critical healthcare functions.

Data transmissibility and interoperability are gaining steam in healthcare, but they can’t come at the expense of data security. Getting data to and from various systems is critical, but not as much as getting it there securely.

Data security in the age of digital healthcare

In an era of regular data breaches, the concept of data security has never been more important for healthcare providers. The sheer volume of healthcare data is increasing rapidly. Providers must safeguard patient information, a challenging undertaking — especially during data transmission, which is critical for ensuring this healthcare data is available where and when it’s needed.

It bears repeating: Data transmission cannot come at the expense of data security. Healthcare providers must look beyond the point of capture and adopt data standards that safeguard PHI at every phase in the chain of custody, including storage and transit. As the healthcare industry embraces interoperability and data sharing, providers must adopt frameworks emphasizing protection.

Cognizant of the data security challenges providers face, TeleRay offers a proactive approach to data security. Specifically, we implement frameworks prioritizing data security across the spectrum of data handling: from capture to transmission to storage. Our telehealth platform is fully DICOM-integrated and HIPAA-compliant, ensuring patient data is secure during transmission. Plus, TeleRay has no stored PHI, which eliminates the risk of sensitive data breaches.

Transport layer security (TLS): protecting health data in transit

Healthcare data is private and valuable, making it a prime target for cybercriminals and bad actors. Protecting PHI at every level — including during data transmission — is critical to maintaining privacy and security. Healthcare providers must implement data standards that not only optimize accessibility and mobility, but also safeguard data against breaches.

Transport layer security is a widely adopted security protocol providing privacy and data security for communications over the internet. TLS encrypts web applications’ communication and servers, including email, messaging, and voice-over IP (VoIP), to protect against data breaches and other cyberattacks. Specifically, TLS encryption protects data by:

  • Validating the authenticity of parties exchanging information
  • Verifying the data has not been tampered with or forged
  • Hiding the data from third parties

TLS doesn’t just mobilize data; it safeguards providers against liability. With the increasing pervasiveness of over-the-air interception, TLS makes certain data gets from one system to another securely — be it physician to physician, doctor to patient, or site to site.

TeleRay’s approach to secure data transmission

TeleRay takes a proactive approach to data security in healthcare by implementing frameworks for protection. To ensure the privacy and security of patients’ personal health information in transit, TeleRay utilizes a variety of state-of-the-art data security measures:

  1. TeleRay uses random AES keys for data packet transmission security. Clients generate a key at the beginning of the media connection, ensuring the encryption keys used to protect PHI are unique and not vulnerable to being guessed or intercepted by unauthorized parties.
  2. TeleRay employs an AES unique cipher with 256-bit keys to encrypt audio and video, making data significantly less susceptible to breaches or interception.
  3. HMAC-SHA1 is used to verify data integrity, confirming the data has not been tampered with during transmission.
  4. Transport layer security (TLS) encrypts both voice and video data, providing an additional layer of protection against interception and data breaches. The core protocols used for media traffic encryption are SRTP and DTLS-SRTP for key negotiation, both of which are defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Overall, our approach to secure data transmission protects PHI at every stage of the data transmission process. By implementing strong encryption and key management protocols, TeleRay helps healthcare organizations maximize the privacy and security of their patients’ sensitive health information.

Protect healthcare data with TeleRay

There’s no substitute for security when it comes to healthcare data, which means there can be no compromising in the systems used to safeguard it. From the point of capture, to storage and retrieval, to transmission and accessibility of any kind, TeleRay’s carefully engineered system is not only secure and efficient, but also seamless and easy to use. It’s what happens when you marry a security-first approach with a commitment to patient and provider satisfaction.

To eliminate fear in the decision process, TeleRay offers an industry-first $2,000,000 breach policy to indemnify their customers against any breach actions. Feel safe, be safe, with TeleRay.

Learn more about TeleRay’s approach to data security at