By Alexander Germanis
Ours is a nation of consumers and has been for quite some time. As such, we are familiar with having the benefit of choice when it comes to spending our hard-earned money. Whether it comes to major purchases like a home or a car, or something as simple as where we prefer to shop for groceries, not having those decisions made for us is one of the great things about this country.
What many people do not realize, however, is we also have a choice when it comes to our health. Diagnostic scanning procedures in particular, such as the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or x-rays, have often been linked to the hospital; but where to get these procedures done is almost as much a matter of choice as shopping for groceries.
Know your rights
Although few people actually want an MRI or an x-ray, most have to get one or both sometime in their lives. The longer one lives, the more likely it becomes. What imaging coordinator Melissa Black, RT, at Diagnostic Neuro Technology, wants people to understand is that one does not have to have those scans or x-rays in a hospital.
Admittedly, the hospital is the first setting people think of when they hear the term MRI, but Melissa points outs there are far more options. “If a doctor says you need an MRI or x-ray, you have the right to say where you want it done.”
“A doctor commonly is going to suggest they go to a facility they’re most familiar with,” she states. “But, ultimately, it’s up to the patients where they want to go.”
MRI scans and x-rays and the like can be expensive, so knowing you have options, especially if your insurance will not cover the entire cost, or if you have not met your deductible yet, can end up saving you money. While this is due largely to the demands of one’s insurance, it is still important to know there are free-standing clinics outside the normal hospital system — places like Diagnostic Neuro Technology — that specialize in MRI scanning.
The human factor
At Diagnostic Neuro Technology, Melissa and her fellow technologist, David Messenger, comprehend that getting an MRI is not an experience most patients enjoy. That is why they go the extra mile to make it as pleasant experience as it can possibly be. “A lot of what we do is making the patient comfortable,” Melissa states simply. “They’re in pain and they don’t want to be here. We try to comfort them.”
That comfort can come in the literal form, with a variety of padding Melissa and David use to make every patient not feel like they are lying inside a massive scanning machine. Comfort can also come in more emotional ways. “Some patients are claustrophobic, David shares, and we are sensitive to that and strive to make them comfortable.”
“For them, we have the option of choosing from a selection of music during the MRI,” Melissa continues. “ Or, we can bring a spouse or loved one in the room just to stand with the patient. Sometimes it’s just knowing someone else is there with them, just touching them on the leg — to just feel that touch — it’s comforting.”
Many patients return to DNT for imaging due to convenience and comforting professional care they receive.
Even though there are some patients who arrive alone, it does not mean they will stay that way during the scan. “There’s a reason there’s two of us,” Melissa says. If one of them cannot be physically present in the room during the scan, they can continue to talk to the patient over a speaker to bring a bit of added comfort.
“Usually, we have a 24-hour turnaround for MRI reports,” Melissa states.
Flexibility and convenience
There are more advantages to going to Diagnostic Neuro Technology than comfort. Convenience is something nearly everyone appreciates.
It begins with the convenience of parking and the structure itself. Since Diagnostic Neuro Technology is in its own detached facility, it is easily accessible; there’s no need to fight for parking or to navigate a sprawling facility.
Because they are not as busy as a hospital, there is also tremendous flexibility to their schedule. Not only does it mean a patient can often get in for a scan the same day they make an appointment or the day after, it means the technologists can concentrate on the concerns of each patient.
It begins with a phone call. “We call our patients ahead of time and tell them what to wear and what to expect,” Melissa explains. “They don’t come in here not knowing.”
When they do come in, she and David take advantage of their relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. “It’s our job to let them be able to breathe and take their time,” Melissa says. “We want to make sure they’re comfortable and they understand everything. It does make the actual test go faster, too, if you explain everything ahead of time.”
Turnaround not runaround
As laid back as Diagnostic Neuro may feel and as much time as they share with each patient, they do not believe in carrying across that attitude when it comes to getting the patients their results. “Usually, we have a 24-hour turnaround for MRI reports,” Melissa states.
Having a direct line of communication between patient and technologist right from the start is also very important at Diagnostic Neuro. If you call to make an appointment or if you have questions regarding the MRI scan, it will be either David or Melissa on the phone with you. “You will talk to the actual technologist who will be doing your test,” Melissa assures.
Whether it’s MRI scans, x-rays, or bone densitometry, the staff at Diagnostic Neuro Technology understands you may not necessarily want to get a scan, but they want to do everything in their power to make sure it will be a pleasant experience. “Remember,” Melissa says, “you have the right to choose!”
Diagnostic Neuro Technology-MRI Center is located at 1015 S. Mercer Ave. in Bloomington.
You may contact them by calling 309-663-0463.
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