In today’s day and age, you can find a walk-in urgent care clinic in virtually every neighborhood, and you can even get your flu shot at the nearby pharmacy. So, it’s no surprise that when it comes to medical imaging, fast turnaround time is expected by doctors and their patients.
If you’ve ever had a diagnostic imaging study done – such as an X-ray, MRI, ultrasound, or CT scan – you may understand what it feels like waiting for those results.
The radiology report – the written analysis by the radiologist interpreting your imaging study – is transmitted to the requesting physician or medical specialist. The doctor or specialist will then relay the full analysis to you, along with recommendations and/or prescriptions.
How the Medical Industry Is Trying to Speed Up Imaging Results
According to the Journal of the American College of Radiology, imaging providers across the United States are searching for ways to shorten the turnaround time for compiling and delivering results. The swift transmission of diagnostic information is important to both patients and referring physicians.
The results from an MRI scan are typically interpreted within 24 hours, and the scans themselves are usually given immediately to the patient on a disc after the MRI is complete. The results are “read” by a radiologist, and the turnaround time for their analysis depends on their availability and where the imaging study was done.
Oftentimes, large academic hospitals have a high volume of results to analyze and process. Patients who are having imaging tests due to accidents or surgeries are usually the first ones served – this is called the triage process (pronounced TREE-ahj).
What Can Make My Scanning Results Faster?
There are many factors that come into play regarding turnaround time. The speed at which you receive the results of an X-ray will depend on:
- The urgency with which the results are needed
- The complexity of the examination
- Whether more information is required before the radiologist can properly interpret the images
- Whether a previous X-ray or another image is being compared to it
- The mode of transmission between practice to doctor (e.g., fax)
Releasing imaging results too early – when not enough examination and analysis has been done – or too late can have negative effects on patient experience. One study found that a delay in delivering the results of a scan can cause patients to experience anxiety, as they assume the delay indicates that something bad was found in the scans.
What Are Electronic Health Records?
In addition to safeguarding patient information and improving efficiency, the advent of electronic health records (EHRs) – also called electronic medical records (EMRs) – has given patients access to their radiology reports electronically through secure online portals. However, most medical professionals recommend a follow-up appointment to discuss the medical jargon contained in radiology reports for a full understanding of them.
When electronic health records became mainstream, some radiologists feared that providing reports directly to patients through portals could create panic, or disrupt the patient-doctor relationship. But as it turns out, 60 percent of people surveyed in one study said that they would prefer immediate access to their radiology reports.
Palm Beach Imaging Specialists
Independent Imaging is run by board-certified, fellowship-trained radiologists. Our facility utilizes the most cutting-edge technology available for comprehensive patient care.
Our convenient provider’s portal gives referring physicians swifter access to view their patients’ images and reports. Our processes help physicians get the valuable information and trustworthy analysis they need for their patients.
For more information about our radiology services, or about wait times for imaging results, call us today at (561) 795-5558. You can also request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you.