Atlantic General Hospital Offers Same-Day Availability for MRI Services
In an age when everything – iced caramel lattes, Internet downloads,
world news – is delivered faster – the convenience and timeliness
of medical care is still lagging behind.
It is Atlantic General Hospital and Health System’s mission to improve
access to care, and in recent years the hospital has launched several
initiatives that are keeping the medical care of Worcester County and
the surrounding area up to speed: the 30 Minute ER Promise in 2007, then
online wait times for the ER this past December, and now same-day appointments
with next-day results for MRI services.
Patients needing an MRI can now schedule an appointment the same day the
test is ordered by their physician. While immediate scheduling may be
impeded by a wait for authorization from a patient’s private insurance
carrier, individuals do have the option to follow through with testing
the same day.
“We hate to offer that caveat,” said Kim Justice, vice president
of planning and operations at Atlantic General Hospital. “Patients
can certainly waive insurance pre-authorization. But, we’re in the
process of educating the referring physicians in the community about the
importance of contacting insurance companies for authorization immediately
to get the ball rolling. Our facility is set up to handle requests for
appointments as soon as providers make them.”
Once the test has been completed, referring physicians will have their
patients’ results within 24 hours either via the web-based PACS
system, which stores electronic images and radiologists’ reports,
or on a CD.
“This initiative will drastically reduce the amount of time it takes
for a physician who has ordered an MRI to diagnose and treat a patient,”
said Justice. “And it will, hopefully, reduce the anxiety of patients
who no longer face a wait for their testing and then for their results
to be delivered.”
Atlantic General Hospital’s full service imaging department provides
standard and open MRI technology, the only facility on the Shore to offer both.