Choosing an Imaging Center? 6 Tips to Consider

An imaging center is a facility where diagnostic tests are performed. An imaging center can perform many different tests and procedures such as MRIs, ultrasounds, x-rays, mammograms, and CT scans to diagnose a patient's condition. These tests help a doctor figure out how far a disease or disorder has progressed within a person's body. When choosing a diagnostic imaging provider, it's advisable to consider these six tips:

1. Accreditation

In other words, is the imaging center accredited by ABR (American Board of Radiology)? A facility that has gone through a rigorous, peer-reviewed accreditation process is more likely to provide consistently high-quality diagnostic services than those facilities or centers that have not sought such recognition. The ABR lists all certified radiologists on its website.

2. Ask Your Primary Care Physician

It's advisable to ask your provider which facilities they routinely recommend. Sometimes there may be reasons why they prefer one place over another. Your physician may also have a better idea of which imaging center is equipped to handle certain patient needs.

3. Down Time

How much time will you spend waiting for your test? Most imaging centers today can schedule exams on the spot. The speed and accuracy of the technologist and radiologist will vary depending upon the overall patient volume and case mix within a center.

4. Consider Location and Opening Hours

Some imaging centers are open 24 hours a day. Others have availability only during the day, or on certain evenings and weekends. It is also advisable to consider the distance from your home or work, primarily if traveling is an inconvenience for you. Most outpatient imaging centers are located near hospitals so that patients can receive post-procedure care in the event complications should arise.

5. Costs

Check that how much you are charged for imaging services is available in writing. If there are costs you don't understand, ask the billing department before undergoing imaging exams. Also, ask how much it will cost if your insurance doesn't cover some or all of the fees.

6. Check with Your Health Insurer

Before undergoing the test, check that your insurance will cover the imaging center you want to work with. Most insurances have preferred centers and facilities where they will pay for services.

If you need an imaging test or you've been referred to an imaging center for further evaluation of a condition, it's important to understand what happens there and what your choices are. While your doctor can help guide you in this decision, ultimately, the choice is yours. Make sure the imaging center you choose meets the above criteria.