Medical imaging centers use technology to take images of the inside of the human body. Medical imaging is sometimes referred to as diagnostic imaging because it is frequently used to help doctors arrive at a diagnosis.
Medical imaging has had a tremendous effect on diagnostics and the treatment of disease. Consider the following:
- Mammography screening for breast cancer has resulted in better treatment options, improved survival rate, and a declining death rate.
- Coronary CT angiography performed to examine the heart vessels in patients with chest pain has helped guide treatment decisions with high accuracy, avoiding costly invasive procedures.
- Life expectancy in the United States has significantly increased due to incorporating advanced medical imaging procedures into healthcare.
However, radiation in medical imaging has risks, as do almost all medical procedures, especially imaging procedures that use radiation. Physicians and patients must consider the potential benefits and the risks when considering the use of imaging techniques that involve radiation.
Although each patient’s clinical situation is different, there are some things for healthcare providers to consider when deciding whether an imaging procedure that uses medical radiation is the right choice.
- The purpose of the procedure (for a diagnosis, to assess treatment response, or as a preventive screening)
- Whether alternative imaging procedures could accomplish the same goal without medical radiation (ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging)
- The risks of not having the imaging procedure done
- The age of the patient (risks for pediatric and adolescent patients are different than those for adults)
- If the patient is pregnant, possibly pregnant, or breastfeeding
- What other procedures is the patient likely to undergo during their patient workup
- The patient’s radiation exposure from previous medical procedures, i.e. multiple CT or nuclear medicine scans in the past
- The patient’s occupational exposure to radiation, if any
- If the imaging exam can be performed on low-dose equipment
Healthcare providers and patients should discuss these issues and any other potential risks not only with the treatment team, but also with the radiologist in charge of supervising the imaging procedure.
At Highland Risk Services, we recognize the benefits and risks inherent in medical imaging. We are ready to help our agents and their medical imaging center clients the support and insurance coverage they need. Please call us at one of our offices in Chicago at 847-832-9100 , Lansing at 517-676-7100 or Phoenix at 847-832-9099.