Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ Medical Imaging

Is 'Diagnostic Imaging' different from 'Medical Imaging'?

In terms of strict definitions, Diagnostic Imaging refers to the process of identifying a disease or condition via using images of the patient’s body organs. As the term suggests, this is a part of primary diagnosis. Medical Imaging refers to the process of using imaging studies for evaluating progress of an established medical condition or for performing a procedure. However, ‘Medical Imaging’ usually refers to both these niches.

Why are Digital Images being used in Medical Imaging these days?

This is for the benefit of the patients and the healthcare facility. Using digitalized images means that image studies are no longer carried in the form of films. These images can be saved electronically. Digital medical images can be easily imported into patient records and the software being used by the physician’s office. As a result, patients don’t need to carry their imaging reports every time they have a consultation. There is no fear of losing data since electronic back-up of digitalized files is very easy. Such Images can be edited easily, such as improving their brightness or contrast levels. The entire diagnostic and treatment process is fast-tracked with such advantages. This also translates into more efficiency in surgical procedures, better treatment planning and shorter hospital stays.

What is PACS?

PACS stands for Picture Archiving and Communications System. This is the worldwide benchmark that sets standards for facilities using medical imaging systems. Healthcare facilities following PACS are provided a streamlined method of creating, saving, retrieving and sharing medical images. PACS ensures that medical images can be easily shared across different specialties or among faraway physicians as a part of collaborating on a diagnosis without compromising the integrity of the patient data.

How long does a usual Medical Imaging Exam take?

The length of the scanning exam depends upon the kind of imaging study that has been prescribed and what part of the body is being tested. Most of the medical imaging exams last between 30 minutes and an hour. Modern, Medical Imaging systems are highly advanced and usually, re-testing is rarely required.

Is making an appointment for Imaging Exam always required?

This depends upon the kind of imaging exam. For instance, for a routine X-ray of the spine or a chest x-ray, making an appointment might not be necessary. For more demanding imaging studies like upper GI testing, making prior appointment is critical since this requires the presence of a trained and certified Radiologist. Similarly, making appointments for most CT exams, Ultrasounds and MRI studies is the norm.

Does the patient need to make any preparations for a Medical Imaging Exam?

Some basic precautions include wearing comfortable clothing that should be free from any kind of metal. Some of testing centers provide their own patient gear. The attending staff should be informed about the presence of any metallic object within the body such as an implant, pacemaker, etc. Many physicians prefer scanning studies on a fasting schedule—this should be confirmed at the time of making the appointment.

Is insurance authorization need for this exam?

This is largely dependent on the kind of insurance carrier and the terms and conditions listed as a part of the medical insurance guidelines. It is better to seek clarification on this issue before confirming the appointment.