Offered by Meagan Hirt
When it comes to medical imaging, many patients do not know they have a choice in where the exam is performed. Traditionally patients have relied upon the preference of their primary care provider or specialists with little regard or knowledge into the imaging provider chosen. However, in today’s healthcare environment, patients are playing a much larger role in choosing where their imaging is performed.
There are many factors to consider when choosing an imaging provider. Comparing all options and weighing the benefits will help patients determine a provider that offers high quality imaging for the greatest value.
Price- As high deductible insurance plans dictate more financial responsibility to patients, it is beneficial for patients to compare multiple imaging providers and shop for a more cost effective option. The facility suggested by the referring physician may not be the most affordable choice.
Pricing among imaging providers varies substantially. One facility may charge $1500 for a MRI brain without contrast and another facility within the same community may charge $300 for the same study. Despite all other variables, this price variance alone could be a deciding factor for many patients.
Quality- An accurate diagnostic outcome depends on the quality of the images produced by the technologists at the imaging center and the experience and expertise of the radiologist who interprets them. Some radiologists read images for all parts of the body but higher quality results may be obtained by radiologists who specialize in specific conditions or areas of the body. For instance, some radiologists may read only studies of the musculoskeletal system or specifically of the breast. Their additional training and focus may mean they see things that other might miss. Patients should inquire if the imaging provider offers specialty radiologists for their particular exam. Their accurate diagnosis can help avoid additional expensive and potentially invasive studies and the faster start of treatment.
The imaging technology offered by the practice is also important when it comes to quality. For example, MRI scanners have varying degrees of strengths and structures that make producing a high-resolution image easier for certain body types. In general, a unit with more strength that can accommodate a variety of patients will be the best fi t for the majority. There are some exceptions to this in particular cases.
Convenience- Finally, convenience plays a part in imaging provider selection. Location of the facility in comparison to a patient’s home or work will make it easier for them to complete their study with little interruption to their day.
The hours of operation will also help alleviate pressure on busy patients who find it difficult to be away from work or family during the day. Extended evening or weekend hours could be a huge benefit to many patients and would therefore weigh heavily in their choice of imaging provider.
As the healthcare environment continues to have more patients playing an active role in their imaging provider selection, patients should consider all the variables before making a final choice and chose an imaging provider that brings the most value to them and their family.
Click here to view Spectrum Medical Imaging Center on The Brighton Buzz Business Directory