There has recently been quite a bit of controversy surrounding when, and how often, women should get a mammogram. The American Cancer Society used to recommend that women start getting annual mammograms at age 40, but this recommendation has recently been changed to recommend that women begin annual mammograms starting at age 45. Also, recently the U.S.
Osteoporosis is when bones thin out due to aging and other factors. It often leads to broken bones and fractures. What increases the risks is aging, being female, lack of hormones, low body weight, menopause, smoking, and medications. Supplements, exercise, and lifestyle changes can help with the disease. In severe cases medications and surgery are options. Continue Reading Article >
Kids are scared of x-ray rooms, plain and simple. Having been an x-ray technologist for many years prior to having my own children, it still surprises me just how nervous children get around any environment that even subtly looks like a hospital. Some kids will think their x-ray experience is pretty darn cool -it’s not every day that you get to see inside your own body, yet even the bravest enter their imaging exam with some level of fear and anxiety. Continue Reading Article >
Within imaging practices, Magnetic Resonance Imaging exams (MRI) can produce high levels of anxiety and stress to patients both prior to and during scanning. Used as a highly informative diagnostic tool, MRI exams provide some of the most detailed information physicians need to fully understand certain diseases. A benefit worth the temporary discomfort. Continue Reading Article >
While it’s less likely to use contrast (an iodine mixture) with an x-ray (as opposed to a CT or MRI, a combination more common), but that’s what an intravenous pyelogram procedure is - an x-ray examination that focuses on the kidneys, ureters, and urinary bladder with the use of contrast. Sometimes, an intravenous pyelogram procedure is also called an excretory urogram. Continue Reading Article >
Did you know that your bones are constantly breaking down and building themselves back up again? That’s what living tissue does. Healthy bones always grow back just as strong as before. Osteoporosis is what happens when the regrowth can’t keep up with the deterioration. Basically, the bone is breaking down too fast for it to regrow at the same rate. Continue Reading Article >
Radiation therapy is a very common treatment for cancer, usually in tandem with either surgery to chemotherapy. If you’re wondering what is radiation, consider yourself lucky. Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays (or concentrated particles) to find and destroy cancer cells in a very specific part of the body. Continue Reading Article >
The world of diagnostic imaging can be very hazy (though hopefully your images are not). There’s of buzzwords that get thrown around, and you might feel lost in the shuffle. MRI? PET? CT? Ultrasound? X-ray? Contrast? Open? Closed? What does it all mean? Today, we hope to help demystify the difference between an MRI and an ultrasound. Continue Reading Article >
When you’re experiencing certain medical complications, doctors aren’t always immediately aware of what’s causing the symptoms. In cases that require further examination, diagnostic imaging allows doctors to search inside a patient’s body to diagnose what’s going on. There are many different diagnostic imaging procedures that use different machines and techniques based on where the complication is and what the symptoms are. Continue Reading Article >
Diagnostic imaging provides doctors with the ability to look inside patients’ bodies in order to check on certain symptoms and diagnosis various medical complications. Depending on what the symptoms are and where the complication is on the body, doctors use many different machines and techniques when performing diagnostic imaging tests. Common forms of diagnostic imaging include tests such as MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, and ultrasounds. Continue Reading Article >
Radiology or medical imaging, has always played a strong role within healthcare to help diagnose and treat patients. Rarely does a patient go through the healthcare system without needing at least one imaging test of some kind such as an x-ray or CT scan. Most commonly, patients will spend some level of time waiting for their exam or results. Time often spent contemplating the notion of radiation. Luckily today, radiology centers are regulated by the strongest of rules related to radiation exposure and dosage. Yet, as a patient, it is easy to worry about the unknown. Continue Reading Article >
What is scanxiety? Scanxiety is an anxious feeling before an MRI scan that is very common among cancer patients. For some it’s the unpredictability of the results and for others it’s plainly the claustrophobic aspect. “Claustrophobia is an anxiety disorder in which the sufferer has an irrational feat of having no escape or being closed in.“ When a person experiences this they may also suffer a panic attack which results in accelerated heart rate, sweating, and nausea. Continue Reading Article >
There are many myths surrounding medical imaging that unfortunately frighten patients. These myths make them believe that medical imaging is dangerous. Many people believe that all imaging involves radiation which is certainly not true and one of the most hurtful myths. There are many type of medical imaging scans that do not involve radiation. Medical imaging is a way to determine if patients need surgery or treatment for an illness. It is also used to determine if treatment has been effective. Continue Reading Article >
You complained of knee pain, saw your doctor who wrote a script for an x-ray, and now you are charged with the decision of where to go in order to get your medical imaging procedure performed. If you are lucky, the physician’s nurse will recommend a place or may even set up your appointment for you, but most of us are stuck with the very real task of figuring out the best scenario to ensure good images as well as quick results back to your physician.
Medical imaging is the umbrella term used to describe procedures that visualize the human body including x-rays, MRI’s, and CT exams. Performed by radiologic technologists, they can be done in both self-standing imaging outpatient centers as well as larger hospitals that have imaging departments.
Some key factors to consider when choosing the medical imaging center that works best for you revolve around the three a’s: accessibility, affordability, and accreditation.
Accessibility: how easy is it for you to get to your imaging procedure and for your physician to get the report? Accessibility and convenience are everything these days! Being able to have your imaging procedure in a location that is near to your home, has parking that is easy and close to the building, and can offer appointment times that work around your life schedule are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing your imaging center. Many times outpatient imaging centers may offer a wider scheduling variety than hospitals that are also treating inpatients at the same time. Keep in mind that you will want a center that can provide the images and/or report back to your physician in a timely manner. You will also want to consider how many other exams you need to schedule. If you need multiple tests done, a hospital may be more suited to handle your needs.
Affordability: every imaging center charges patients differently. Imaging procedures can get pretty expensive! When you call for an appointment, feel free to ask what the cost of the exam will be. Many times, hospitals have a different payment scale for procedures than outpatient facilities or your particular insurance carrier may only cover the imaging service if it is done in the hospital versus an outpatient center. Knowing ahead of time what your out-of-pocket expense will be can eliminate surprises and reduce your stress levels. In this new age of consumer driven patient care, if they cannot tell you the price, you may want to look elsewhere.
Accreditation: all ACR accredited imaging centers offer the highest quality of care. Regardless of whether you choose an outpatient imaging center or a hospital based imaging department, the highest level of quality comes from places that are ACR accredited. You can find the gold seal that identifies this accreditation easily on imaging department websites or within their centers. You can also ask if they have accreditation when making the appointment. Such standards ensure that you will have highly qualified staff taking your images on the highest performing equipment. A win/win situation!
Written By: Julie Kaufield, MA, RT(R)
Physician specialists are a result of increased medical knowledge in many fields. After attending medical school and finishing a one to five year residency medical physicians will receive more schooling and take examinations in order to be “board certified” as a specialist in a specific field. If you are seeing a specialist and want verification you can contact, “The American Board of Medical Specialties. I’m not sure if animals would be able to attend twelve years of school (post college) to receive a specialization, but keep reading to find out how a bear is like a pediatrician. Continue Reading Article >
Anyone who has ever been a patient knows what it feels like to have to make difficult medical decisions regarding the kind, type and quality of care they receive. And let’s face it, navigating through such complex healthcare systems is no easy task. Most of us end up feeling confused, defeated, and powerless. Add to the worry, medical imaging, is often required in order to make the proper diagnosis of disease and create treatment plans.
A big complaint I often hear from patients, friends, and family is not knowing how to choose the right provider for their imaging. Many of us simply do not have the time or energy to research review sites or call insurance providers to cross check coverage and ratings. To make matters worse, there are more choices than ever before as to where you can get your mammogram, x-ray, MR, or other imaging performed. It sounds like a good problem to have but too many choices can create confusion. From self-standing imaging centers to academic hospitals, it is easy to question which type of center provides the highest quality exams.
The good news is that the American College of Radiology (ACR) has taken a lot of the guess work regarding medical imaging out of the equation. As the expert medical society dedicated to serving patients and society through the advancement of radiology practices, they have created a gold standard within imaging known as ACR Accreditation.
Having accredited over 38,000 within 10 different modalities, the ACR strives to continually raise the bar when it comes to patients. In fact, the ACR cares so much about patients that it has an entire commission focused on providing quality patient experiences within imaging. Through committee engagements, project collaboration, and focused goals, the ACR is a strong believer in using patients to help guide their own experiences. By accrediting centers that provide imaging, the ACR can take that patient focus one step further by monitoring and ensuring the consistency, accuracy, and quality of the imaging services they receive. From a patient’s perspective, this can only mean good things.
Easily identifiable by a gold seal, such gold standards of care are defined by the ACR and supported by regulatory bodies across ten different types of imaging. As a result, imaging centers that perform any type of breast imaging are required by law to be accredited within the US. Because of Medicare payment rules and regulations, many modalities require accreditation in order to receive payment from certain plans. The ten modalities that can be accredited include:
· Breast Imaging including Mammography, Stereotactic Breast Biopsy, Breast MR, Breast Ultrasound
· Nuclear Medicine and PET
· Radiation Oncology
Each modality from breast imaging to MRI has its own specific set of goals to achieve and maintain through the accreditation process, however, all modalities are required through this process to meet quality benchmarks including:
· Staff that is highly qualified with the proper training and technologist credentials.
· Imaging equipment that is safe and accurate.
· Patients exposure to radiation is monitored, documented, and limited.
· Systems are in place to consistently check and assure the quality of images.
By taking all the guesswork away from patients, this little gold seal ensures the very best patient experiences from the moment you enter the door to your diagnosis. And because accreditation is an ongoing process that needs to be renewed every few years, patients don’t have to worry about consistency. These centers remain committed and engaged in achieving excellence each and every time.
Sometimes the best things in life really are that simple. Look for the ACR gold seal and rest assured you are in good hands to be able to tackle the very important job of caring for your own health and well- being.
Written By: Julie Kaufield, MA, RT(R)
Thanks to diagnostic imaging, doctors are able to look within a patient’s body to find any medical problems or conditions. There are different types of machines and techniques that produce images to help the doctor find a diagnosis. So, depending on what the symptoms may be, and what part of the body is being affected, the doctor can use a variety of different tests. Continue Reading Article >
Many times during my career as an x-ray or radiologic technologist, patients would often mistake me for a nurse or doctor. It’s an easy thing to do given the fact that most medical professionals wear a similar uniform of lab coat, scrubs, and badge. And let’s face it, in this new world of healthcare where organizations are being asked to do more with less, many times one individual is responsible for multiple areas of the patient’s experience. Continue Reading Article >
Cancer has an extremely large impact on the world as it is an extremely difficult disease to combat, and it affects so many individuals each year. While it’s no secret that cancer has such a devastating impact on people around the world, not everyone understands the differences between the different treatments. As the most effective cancer treatments, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the most common approaches to treating cancer. Continue Reading Article >
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, enables doctors to examine inside of a patient’s body in order to possibly find a certain condition and determine the best treatment. As with most medical technology, MRIs have advanced quite a bit lately and continuously help doctors as an important diagnostic imaging tool. Recent MRI advancements come in the form of different bore sizes in the MRI machines, which is the hole area where the patient rests. Continue Reading Article >