Top Ten Questions You Must Ask Your Doctor When Radiology Tests Are Ordered
Leading U.S. Radiologist and MetisMD Founder Dr. Gregory Goldstein Offers Tips to Patients to Prevent Medical Mistakes, Extra Costs and Anxiety
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) October 25, 2012
This year, millions of Americans will get a MRI, CT-Scan, Mammogram or other scan—up to four times as many patients as just a decade ago. As the number of scans rise, so too will the number of patients who receive the wrong type of scan, overly aggressive imaging follow up, or inaccurate diagnoses. According to the Institutes of Health, tens of thousands of patients are misdiagnosed every year. Dr. Gregory Goldstein is a veteran Chicago radiologist and imaging expert who is trying to help patients avoid unnecessary radiation, costs and anxiety. He recently launched a web-based second opinion service, MetisMD, for patients anywhere in the world who have received a scan and want a board-certified radiologist to take another look at their diagnosis. Goldstein says there are ten questions that patients should ask their doctors before and after a scan to ensure they're getting all the information they need to make the right decisions about their health care.
BEFORE YOUR SCAN:
1. Why is a scan the right option for my symptoms? Some doctor's practice overly defensive medicine, and others may not know the right type of scan to order. This can expose patients to unnecessary radiation, anxiety and costs. Make sure your doctor understands why and what he is ordering. If there's any question whatsoever, ask that they consult with a radiologist before ordering the test.
2. Do you know the radiologist who will be reading my scan? Many people don't realize that radiology exams are interpreted by a radiologist, who is a medical doctor. The scan is not read by the doctor that ordered it, a nurse, or technologist. The radiologic interpretation is an important piece of your diagnosis, and your doctor should make sure that the facility he/she is sending you to has board certified radiologists who specialize in the type of scan you're getting. Also, communication between your doctor and the radiologist is important - just in case more information is needed.
3. Does my scan require the use of intravenous and/or oral contrast? It's important to use contrast when looking for certain diseases -and not necessary for others. Make sure your doctor knows when intravenous dye (contrast) is indicated. Some people may also be allergic to intravenous contrast, or have other medical problems for which contrast should not be used.
4. Where do you recommend I have the exam done? If your doctor doesn't refer you to a specific facility, then you should ask for a recommendation since all imaging facilities are NOT created equal.
5. Is the facility accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR)? The ACR accredits imaging facilities based on equipment tests and multiple other factors. Make sure the center you go to is an accredited facility.
AFTER YOUR SCAN:
1. Can you review the findings and images with me? Your doctor may or may not have enough knowledge and/or time to do a detailed review of the images, but hopefully they can at least review the findings and answer your questions.
2. Did you speak with the radiologist about my scan? Communication is KEY. It's important that the radiologist clearly knows what your doctor is looking for - and also that your doctor understands the interpretation and what it means for your health.
3. Does this diagnosis fit with your clinical findings? Sometimes the radiology findings don't match with the clinical ones. It is important to remember that the doctor is treating YOU, not the IMAGES. However, maybe your doctor wasn't correct and the radiology exam will shed some light on the problem. If things don't match up, make sure your doctor speaks to the radiologist to make sure nothing important was overlooked.
4. How definitive are these findings? A radiology exam is just a test - and these tests are not perfect. The images are black and white, but the interpretation may not be. Sometimes things aren't clear or definitive on the images. If that's the case, you may need another type of test or a follow up exam.
5. What are my options (if the scan is positive and you want more information or if the scan is negative but symptoms persist)? In today's medical environment, second opinions in medicine - and especially radiology - are of critical importance. Sometimes a second read can find things that were initially missed. If you want more information there are services online that can help you.
For more information about Dr. Greg Goldstein and MetisMD, visit http://www.metismd.com.
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