So your radiology test has been ordered. Where do you go now? Well, there are three possibilities of where you can go to get your radiology exam. First, in a very small number of limited cases, there may be a single type of test that the main provider doctor does so often that you can even get it in their office. So one example would be maybe a chest x-ray in a family practice for a sick visit for a cough. Bone x-rays, looking for a fracture in an urgent care center. For patients that are pregnant and they're getting pregnancy-related ultrasounds, those are often done in the obstetrics office. So in this case, our radiologists like me oftentimes won't even ever see the study and give a second opinion. The second case where you will have a radiologist reviewing your study and you're actually going to a radiology place is an outpatient radiology office. An outpatient radiology office is usually run by a private practice of radiologists. Often, these are freestanding, a small freestanding building, or it's a suite in a small medical arts building. In general, it's a warmer, friendlier environment with carpeting, there's a nice waiting room.. Generally you have friendlier staff, you'll get better customer service. If you try to call them up, a human being answers the phone. A lot of times they're easier to find, they're not really in city centers, they'll have their own parking lot. The one drawback is they're not always open, but many of them still have flexible hours on evenings and weekends because we understand how busy patients are. The third option is the radiology department inside of a hospital. So the radiology department in a hospital is a much more sterile environment and it can be harder to find and to navigate. The parking and transportation will be dependent upon the parking situation at that hospital. But sometimes it is 100% necessary to go to a hospital department. Some of the most cutting edge technologies, some of the newest machines, for example, the strongest MRI magnets are only going to be found in a hospital radiology department, usually at some sort of an academic center. Ultimately, you get to choose where you want to go. And you can discuss with your doctor if they recommend specific options of a radiology office or radiology department in a hospital somewhere. Also discuss with your neighbors and your friends where they've gone, what have their experiences been. And one huge tip from my side is: if you have access to an outpatient office that's run by a private practice -- now note, not part of a hospital campus, it can not be at a hospital campus -- oftentimes, the charges for the radiology exam are less expensive. If you want to be sure, check with your insurance carrier to know whether or not you could be saving money by going to a smaller outpatient radiology office. And always, always, always check to make sure with your doctor that you don't need to go to the main center for one of those technologies we mentioned before.
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