For most of us, it is unpleasant to think of medicine as a business. We prefer to view it idealistically, with altruistic doctors that make decisions solely based on the patients’ well-being. Well, the fact of the matter is that doctors and hospitals need to think of their bottom line just as much as anyone else, more so since the economic downturn. That’s the truth and there is nothing new about it. What is new, and astounding, is the fact that hospitals are now forcing doctors to “encourage” their patients to only get diagnostic imaging done in the hospital, ignoring the fact that it could be costing the patient a lot more, and that there is no medical reason for them to do so.
The argument that doctors are giving is that diagnostic imaging done in hospital is stored in the hospital’s web based information database, HIS (Hospital Information System) and can easily be accessed by any doctor in that system, whereas imaging done in an outside facility cannot be accessed this way. This is a blatant lie! Imaging done in any facility that has digital imaging can be saved on a CD-Rom (a disc) in a format called DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine). When you bring this disc to your hospital-based doctor all they have to do is insert it in their computer and save it to their Hospital Information System. That’s all! If you don’t believe me, check out this article in The New York Times.
Don’t let hospitals bully you into getting your imaging done where they want you to go. It is not your responsibility to look out for their bottom line. Go where you want to go, where you feel comfortable. And if your doctor argues let them know that you won’t be bullied.Alisa Flom Patient Relations Coordinator