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Why Should You Upload Images and Files in Online Medical Queries?

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Why Should You Upload Images and Files in Online Medical Queries?

4 min read


This article explains why you should always upload images of lesions and previous case records while seeking health advice online.

Written by

Dr. Arvind Guru

Medically reviewed by

Dr. K. Shobana

Published At March 29, 2017
Reviewed AtJune 14, 2022


Online health consultation has been emerging as one of the easy and quick options for people with medical conditions. While directly consulting a physician often becomes tiresome and impossible due to the blocked appointment slots and long waiting hours, telemedicine platforms have made it easy. You can talk to your doctor from the comfort of your home. Online health platforms work with the aim to deliver medical advice for the needed ones all over the world without any hassle. You can even schedule an online doctor’s appointment to seek a second opinion.

Why Should You Upload Images and Files In Online Medical Queries?

There are several hurdles that decrease the efficiency of online diagnosis and treatment. One such hurdle is distance. A patient from India might be seeking a medical opinion from a doctor in Russia. In such cases, the doctor must have a clear knowledge of the patient’s health condition, health history, etc., to suggest the correct diagnosis and treatment. Though the patient may be explaining to the doctor about their condition via a text message or voice, the exact medical terminologies of the previous scans or reports or the kind of lesion in the part of the body need to be assessed clearly like how doctors do during direct physical consultations.

For this purpose, these telemedicine platforms request the users to submit the necessary medical records, scan reports, and pictures of their affected body parts. All these documents lead to a clear understanding of your health condition by the doctor. This aspect of online health consultation is supposed to be so obvious that this is often forgotten. The purpose of attaching an image file with a medical query is necessary for the following reasons:

Delivery of Information Accurately

  • The reason for this is that the medical field and system of healthcare delivery are very complex. And without any formal education on the subject, to be able to understand everything in the right context, decide what is significant and what is not is literally expecting too much.

  • So, even if you think that you are narrating the story right, there might be a less appreciated version of the same story out there, which you did not have any idea about. Thus, it is better to upload the exact report of the investigation performed. This is true for most investigations of body fluids (blood tests, urine tests, etc.), endoscopy pictures, and radiologist’s reports of the imaging like ultrasound, mammogram, CT (computed tomography) scan, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), etc.

  • In case you have many investigations, it would be better to upload a summary by the previous doctor or take some medical professional’s help or ask the doctor directly regarding what all is required.

Delivery of Complete Information

  • Providing incomplete information is a more common issue. For example, if someone asks the question, ‘the doctors told me a patient has a 5 cm X 3 cm bleed on the left side of the brain, so what is the prognosis of the patient?’

  • When the same thing was told to the patient’s relative, it was sufficient information to understand the cause of problems that the patient is suffering from, but for a doctor to advise, it is very inadequate information to comment on the prognosis. It does not say the gender and age, the third dimension of the bleed, location of the lesion with respect to other structures, why it happened in the first place, etc. But medical records will describe all the relevant information that is missing.

  • Another aspect is, let us say you reported accurately what your previous doctor told you, but there was some obscure-looking abbreviation by the side of your patient record which you could not read or did not understand. Now, if you upload this image, it might be possible that the online doctor you are consulting can understand it. Also, there are many cases when patients forget one or two less pressing problems, which can be picked up by reading the records. Finally, the dates on investigation reports and progression of changes observed go a long way in establishing the timeline of the disease.

  • If you were ever admitted to a hospital or underwent surgery, the most important record is the discharge summary and investigation sheet (and operative findings in the case of surgery). Please insist on getting a complete summary at discharge for every hospital admission. If your patient is currently admitted, you have the right to get a written copy of the current status of the patient, to seek a second opinion. So talk to your doctor; if there is mutual trust, everything works out, and your doctor may even advise you to go online or explain to you why the suggestion is applicable or not applicable to your patient.

To Prevent Confusion, Misinterpretation, and Misunderstanding

  • To prevent errors, some industries have developed unambiguous codes and terminology, but it is not universally true of medical science. There is still a lot of room for standardization of the opinion given by a doctor. It is not like two mathematicians communicating with each other regarding equations or two engineers looking for some part number in an engine. Doctors are getting on to become evidence-based, but this transformation is not complete yet. This, in fact, is the sole reason for taking a second opinion.

  • Secondly, there can be an inherent bias in the patient’s mind that will lead to some modulation of information so as to get to a conclusion that is not acceptable or comfortable.

Regarding Privacy Concerns

  • You should always cover your date of birth, address, and contact number information in your documents with bookmark prompts or a marker before taking the picture. These can be covered digitally as well. For body parts, other than the face (for which you can wear shades), rest all, including private parts, is very hard to identify uniquely.


If you are a patient seeking online medical advice, the documents, pictures, your identity, etc., always remain confidential with them, and you do not have to worry about your privacy. Telemedicine companies begin to function only after accepting all the regulations and norms to protect the user’s identity.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can You Send an Email to Your Doctor?

Sending an email to the doctor is subjective. Some doctors may encourage it, whereas some may not prefer it. Sending emails to the doctor may be against the doctor's policies. Generally, it is not advisable to email patient records as they are confidential.


How to Upload a PDF File to a Patient Portal?

To upload a document, choose the document to be uploaded. The appropriate option from the menu should be selected. A miniature version of the document will be available in the dialogue box. After this, clicking on the option “upload the document” will help one upload the document.


Can a Third Person Access Medical Records Without Your Permission?

No, a third person cannot access your documents without your permission. However, the doctor may send the document to another healthcare provider only after your consent. Hence, online medical documents are very safe.


How Long Does a CT (Computed Tomography) Scan Take to Reach the Doctor?

The steps involved in the processing of a CT scan include the following:
  - Taking the scan.
- The radiologist will analyze the scan.
- Scan will be sent to the doctor who referred it.
- This process may take up to three weeks.


What Is Unauthorized Access to Patient Information?

The assortment, use, or exposure of an individual’s well-being data without the assent of people and for purposes that are not allowed or expected by the Individual Wellbeing Data Security Act (PHIPA) is usually alluded to as unapproved access or "sneaking around."


How to Check for Medical Privacy Violations?

Medical privacy violations can be checked in the following ways: 
- Safeguard protected health information.
- Patient access to their information.
- Protection of electronic information.


What May Be the Reasons for the Doctor Withholding a Test Result?

The reasons for withholding information may include the following:
  - Test results are not accurate.
- Contamination of samples.
- Mixing up of results.
- Forgetting about the results.
- Waiting for further information.


Can Ultrasound Results Be Viewed Online?

Ultrasound is a form of a radiologic report. Due to advanced technology, it is quite easy to view these results online. Ultrasound reports can be viewed immediately online after the test. These types of reports are known as electronic health reports.


Is It Possible to Delete One’s Medical Records?

Yes, it is possible to delete a person's medical records. Online medical records are maintained for up to a period of 20 years. Post this time; the medical records are deleted. It can be deleted even sooner if the doctor or the institution feels so.


What Are the Types of HIPAA Violations?

The types of HIPAA violations include:
- Lack of encryption of medical data.
- Theft of data or device.
- Hacking the database.
- Unauthorized access to patient data.
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Dr. Arvind Guru
Dr. Arvind Guru

General Surgery


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