Why Do I Need an MRI?

Medical imaging, like an MRI scan or CT (CAT) scan, can be intimidating. It’s often a new experience for patients and the exam is ordered to find answers, so naturally, this uncertainty can cause anxiety for patients. Beyond the experience of the exam itself, there is an ongoing discussion on the appropriate use of health care, ensuring that the benefits of the care (in this case the MRI) outweigh the costs.

Medical Imaging’s Positive Impact on Society

Taking control of your health care decisions is important, along with asking questions about the necessity of care. When it comes to medical imaging, there is a range of technologies – X-ray, Ultrasound, CT, MRI and beyond – to help provide answers to your medical conditions. Getting the right exam at the right time is critical in moving you quickly along an appropriate treatment path and saving health care dollars in the long run. Your provider, along with a radiology partner, will determine which technology is most appropriate for your specific case.

Medical imaging can improve outcomes and lower the total cost of health care by helping:

  • Detect disease for diagnoses at early, treatable stages
  • Guide providers in determining an appropriate treatment path
  • Assess a patient’s response to treatment through monitoring for prompt corrections to care

For more information, the FDA breaks down how medical imaging technologies differ and where they excel.

A Non-invasive Look Inside the Body

Your provider (specialist, medical doctor, nurse practitioner, chiropractor, etc.) relies on medical imaging when your symptoms are not responding to conservative treatments or he/she suspects a specific condition. The images and the corresponding diagnostic report written by a subspecialized radiologist allow for a clear look inside your body without surgery.

Medical Images offer extremely detailed snapshots of your anatomy:

MRI of the Brain
MRI of the Brain
CT of the Foot with 3-D Reconstruction
CT of the Foot with 3-D Reconstruction

In addition, medical imaging can reveal more than a static image, showing how your body is functioning. For instance, an arthrogram allows the radiologist performing the exam to watch the inner movements of your joints.

Value in Medical Imaging: Examining Quality and Costs

Where you go for care matters as there are wide variances in quality and cost. We’ve created a Value Comparison Checklist to help you ask the right questions to understand quality in medical imaging and make an informed decision about where to go for care.

In medical imaging, “quality” means ensuring:

  • The technology is advanced (high-field MRIs; low-dose CTs)
  • The radiologists, the medical doctors reading the exam, are subspecialized
  • The technologists, the medical staff performing the exam, are certified in the equipment they operate

To understand costs, a number of online resources are emerging to help consumers understand the variances, but the best way to get an accurate idea of the cost of care is to call the facility you are considering and ask for a price estimate based on your insurance or if you are self-pay.

To get a price estimate from CDI, call us at 425-250-1160

If you have a high-deductible plan, you may be tempted to simply ask for the self-pay rate but often times your insurance company has negotiated a better rate, so it’s best to ask for both.

Scheduling an MRI

If your provider has recommended an MRI or another medical imaging exam, he or she believes it is the best next step in your care cycle. Be comfortable asking how the imaging results will impact your treatment plan and know that if you decide to have imaging done, where you go is up to you.

To learn more about CDI’s outpatient centers around the Sound, visit our website. To schedule an appointment, call 425.291.8352.