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When I was in graduate school I learned about how patients were taking a more proactive approach to their healthcare planning. They wanted control and decision making power. Why is it then that so many patients still depend on their medical provider to tell them exactly where they should go for diagnostic tests and other referral type visits? Why are patients not doing their homework when it comes to important life threatening diagnostic testing? The fact of the matter is that not all medical providers are created equal. Another equally important fact is that not all medical equipment is created equal.

This can be a hard pill for patients to swallow. We are accustomed to believing that if you go to a respectable medical facility for an MRI, you will get accurate results from your procedure. The problem with that is that there are vast differences in the quality of MRIs as well as in the experience of the radiologists interpreting them. This can mean the difference between receiving an accurate diagnosis on something as serious as cancer and learning that the tumor you have is benign and can be left alone. Studies of autopsies have found that doctors misdiagnose fatal illnesses 20% of the time. Doctors at academic hospitals report that misread MRIs are all too common.

It is not only the skill of the radiologist that is important. The quality of the image is equally important. The stronger the magnet in the MRI machine, the better the picture.

The moral of the story is buyer beware. It is up to the patient to proactively research any medical providers and facilities including the equipment that may be used in diagnosis. Find out how well-trained the radiologist that will be reading the MRI is. It is also important to determine what kind of equipment will be used. If you are getting an MRI, find out if the machine is ACR (American College of Radiology) accredited.

Medical providers can help by providing patient education at the point of care. This information can be provided to their patients in the waiting room, online and in the examination room. If you are a medical provider and you want to increase consumer awareness, MindStream Creative can help. We can develop marketing strategies that target both the patient and referring community. For more information, call today or visit online at www.mindstreamcreative.com.