When the doctor asks you to get a CT scan or MRI, the patient needs to get an appointment with a radiologist. A radiologist is a medical doctor specializing in treating and diagnosing patients using imaging technology. And these images will guide the primary doctor to make the right medical decisions.
Maybe a decade ago, the only place to get a CT scan, X-ray, or MRI was in hospitals. Nowadays, many outpatient imaging centers will offer the same services. It is easier to get appointments in imaging centers and is cheaper.
But know that not every imaging center has the same level of services. So patients need to consider some factors before choosing the right radiology center that meets their requirements and is also a reputable facility. Here are a few tips that will help with finding the right imaging center in the local area.
- Easy scheduling
It is best to choose a place that has flexible scheduling. It can be quite difficult to take time off work, so, find a center that is easy to schedule and may even allow walk-in appointments. Also, many times treatments require multiple scans. So the imaging center should be accommodating to the requirements.
- Fast turnaround time
Turnaround time is the amount of time taken by the radiologist to provide the results. Choose a radiology center that has a quick turnaround time. This way, the patient will be able to give the primary doctor the results quickly and commit to treatment as soon as possible.
- Advanced technology
Since imaging centers use medical technology to provide diagnosis, so make sure to choose one that has the best and most advanced technology. It may be not possible for you to understand the operations and availability of upgraded machines. So, consult your doctor for references.
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- ACR certification and specialization
ACR stands for American Board of Radiology. Every radiologist has to partake in extensive training to get this certification. Apart from looking for this certification, also look for extra accreditation or specialized training.
- Trained staff
All the radiologists are assisted by many staff in the imaging center. The staffs also include technologists who are in charge of operating the machines and also taking the images. Thus, in addition to certified radiologists, the test can be carried out in any hospital or a center with trained doctors and staff.
- Less expensive
Medical expenses are never cheap thus, this factor matters to most people. Usually, hospitals tend to charge too high. One advantage of outpatient imaging centers is that they have the liberty to reduce their cost and charge the patients low in return. It will be even better if the chosen radiology center has some sort of payment plan and accept payment in installments.
This is a very important thing that every patient needs to check before choosing an imaging center. Imaging centers emit radiation during scans. A good center will emit low radiation and have proper functioning machines so that the patients do not have any trouble during the diagnosis. They should not get stuck while getting an MRI.
The last on the list is convenience. Check if the imaging center has proper parking space and is in the local area for easy access. It will be even better if they allow same-day weekend and evening appointments.
Usually, the primary doctors will recommend some radiology centers to help the patients. But they have the liberty to get the imaging done from a center they prefer. So do proper research and also read reviews about different centers before choosing one. Once a good imaging center is found, the patient can continue going to it for further tests if the requirement arises.