Having a CT or MRI might seem like a pretty simple thing. And most of the time, it is. But as a medically diagnostic tool, it involves many complex processes from start to finish. As a patient, you often don’t see the things that occur behind the scenes.
- The scheduler coordinating your referring physician’s order
- The technologist reading the order and preparing the scan
- The facility checking the technology to ensure functionality and safety
- The coordination with radiologists who will receive and read your images
- The technology program that will send the radiologist’s report to your doctor
- … the list goes on
Even though much of this happens without you even truly knowing, you, the patient, play an important role in achieving the best imaging experience possible. And being aware of your imaging test and facility is an important part of this. So, CT system modality manager for Florida Hospital Imaging Enterprise, Brandi Sharpe, and lead MRI tech at Florida Hospital Orlando, William Lee, share what they think you should know:
1. We work hard to ensure that your diagnostic tests or scans are safe.
“Play close attention to any instructions from your physician and technologist — they are there to ensure your safety,” says Lee.
If you are having an MRI, Lee emphasizes the importance of telling your physician and technologist if you have anything that could be metal in or on your body. For safety, metal must be kept away from the MRI machine. Jewelry and wallets are more obvious things for technologists to catch, but medical implants, devices or parts within your body can’t be detected by the eye. If you tell your imaging technologist about any questionable metal objects in your body, they can take additional steps by contacting the radiologist to give the “OK,” if necessary.
2. We take radiation seriously.
“We understand that some people are hesitant to get their imaging tests done because of exposure to radiation, and we want you to know that we heed the same warning and take radiation very seriously,” explains Sharpe.
Sharpe explains that Florida Hospital’s advanced technology uses the lowest radiation doses possible, following the ALARA guidelines (as low as reasonably achievable). In addition, Florida Hospital’s dedicated radiation physics team utilizes dose monitoring software on its imaging technology to keep track of cumulative doses of radiation that every patient gets across the Florida Hospital system. Analysts give detailed reports and even alerts if doses are ever above recommended levels so the team can investigate and correct it right away.
Sharpe wants patients to know that her team is dedicated to ensuring patient safety, and always available to address any patient’s concerns about radiation. So, if you ever have a question or issue, never hesitate to call.
3. We want you to follow through with your ordered tests.
Lee advises, “If your doctor ordered a diagnostic test, please follow through with making your appointment and having the imaging procedure.” “If you have any questions or concerns about it that are causing you to put it off, call your doctor or imaging facility to discuss it further.”
In medicine, doctors make decisions about ordering a diagnostic test by doing a risk/benefit analysis. If your doctor ordered the test, they consider the benefit of the diagnostic test will allow them to make a better decision towards creating the most appropriate care plan for you.
4. We want you to have convenience.
You had to rush to get to your doctor appointment from work, and now he orders a diagnostic test — Ah! We understand that you are busy, and that it’s hard to get to multiple appointments. That’s why our Florida Hospital system, including Fri —Diagnostic Imaging, is striving to make diagnostic imaging more accessible.
“We offer diagnostic imaging services all over the state — our system has made it very easy to have tests done by creating a vast network of imaging locations in our Florida Hospital communities so they are convenient for you,” notes Sharpe.
5. We want you to get accurate results, fast.
Getting your imaging test is only one piece of your treatment plan. Once your images are taken, you don’t usually meet the radiologist, who is responsible for reading them and sending a report to your doctor. This is a very important process behind the scenes.
“After your scan or test, images are electronically sent to our network of radiologists through a very sophisticated system called PACS (picture archiving and communication system). Once the radiologists read it, the results are transcribed and sent to your physician. On average, this process happens within 24 to 48 hours (depending on the complexity of the images). After this, your physician follows up with you about the results,” details Lee.
Lee points out that Florida Hospital works very hard to create a system that delivers imaging results as fast and efficiently as possible.
6. We want your care to feel connected.
We have all been there. Your doctor sends a referral and it gets lost and delays your imaging appointment. You eventually get your imaging test and the results didn’t get reported to your primary care physician. Your primary care physician finally gets the results and then refers you to a specialist … but this specialist’s first opening for an appointment is a month away. You happily get to your specialist and they don’t have your imaging test results! Well, at Florida Hospital, we are working hard to achieve a more connected system of care.
“The great thing about Florida Hospital’s imaging services is that they are integrated into the entire Florida Hospital system — all of our doctors, imaging centers, radiologists, labs, hospitals and specialists are connected under one system — pre-, during and post-care, all avenues are connected between the services and medical teams you need from start to finish,” concludes Sharpe.
Learn more about imaging services at Florida Hospital and FRi— Diagnostic Imaging.