Defined as the process of using technology to create images of various parts of the human body, medical imaging is necessary for monitoring, diagnosing, and treating health issues. Some of the most popular imaging techniques include CT scan, MRI scan, PET scan, X-Ray, and Ultrasound. Medical imaging processes and techniques are imperative for confirming the decisions and diagnoses of healthcare experts.
The gathered data from medical imaging allows health practitioners to provide more extensive care to patients. If your doctor requested an MRI scan or X-Ray, you must visit a credible imaging center for accurate results. Here are the things that you should look for.
1. They use high-quality equipment
Healthcare imaging technology is advancing every year, requiring medical clinics to keep up for more accurate results. The center should have sufficient equipment to meet the needs of the patients. For instance, an MRI system with magnetic strength of 1.5 will only be suitable for viewing major parts of the body. A 3T MRI is needed for imaging smaller structures such as the spine, elbow, or wrist. Generally, you should avoid visiting a clinic that uses below 1.5T MRI. This only leads to poor quality results and misdiagnosis.
If you need a CT scan, the center should also have high-standard contrast agents such as Isovue or Iopamidol for enhanced imaging results. The use of such agents is essential for the accurate detection and evaluation of any injury or lesion. To assess the type and quality of equipment at the center, you can ask about the frequency of patients who need repeat exams because of unclear imaging. Or, you can directly ask your primary physician to help you out.
2. They have qualified radiologists
The second factor to take into account is the credibility of the radiologists working in the imaging center. Radiologists are the ones who interpret the imaging studies, while your family doctor or private physician is the one who will just receive the results and explain everything to you. Being a highly skilled and knowledgeable radiologist isn’t about finishing med school and residency.
They also need to specialize within a specific radiology subspecialty such as musculoskeletal radiology (the specialization for muscles, joints, and bones), mammography (a technique for imaging the breast), and neuroradiology (diagnosis of the spinal and head structures). After their residency, specialty radiologists train for about one to two years to study their body system of interest. Experts with these qualifications can provide you with a better diagnosis. Ask the center if their radiologists have fellowship training to make sure.
3. They have the proper accreditation
Apart from possessing specialty training, check if the clinic and its team have proper accreditation. Generally, they should be staffed with board-certified radiologists and certified techniques. To ensure that the clinic itself meets the industry standards for training safety, it must be accredited by the American College of Radiology. This organization provides a strict accreditation and review process for clinics that want to assure their patients of high standard medical imaging. Look for gold seals of accreditation on the center’s facility or website.
4. They offer affordable imaging service
It’s no secret that healthcare is usually expensive. So, when searching for a medical imaging center, choose one with affordable rates. Compared to hospitals, standalone imaging centers offer lower prices for the services. Ask multiple centers for their price range for different tests to know which offers the most reasonable prices. In case you find a hospital that offers less costly imaging procedures, keep in mind that most of these facilities don’t use the equipment all the time. Chances are that you’ll end up using an outdated MRI scanner. Look for a reputable standalone imaging center that provides reasonable rates.
5. They deliver quick results
This is somewhat a given, but most patients actually forget to consider this when looking for an imaging center. The last thing you want to happen is for your results to arrive longer than your primary physician expected them. That could delay your complete health diagnosis and treatment.
Choose a radiologist that can manage quick turnaround times. They should be able to deliver the scans and images quickly and won’t make you wait for two or more weeks. Also, they must send out the results or records to your physician as soon as they’re out. Ask about these things before making an appointment with a medical imaging center.
Medical imaging is among the top advancements in the field that has been helping medical experts diagnose, interpret, and treat ailments. As for patients like you, you can receive more comprehensive care and avoid life-threatening problems. Don’t forget to consider our tips here to find the best imaging center for you.