Imaging services, such as X-rays, CT scans and MRI scans, can help your doctor determine your diagnosis or see how your care is progressing. To help ensure that these valuable diagnostic tools are used appropriately, here are some questions you can ask your doctor prior to receiving services:

Why is this test necessary? Estimates have shown that between 10 and 20 percent of imaging tests performed are the wrong test, the right test done incorrectly or unnecessary. Be sure to talk with your doctor about whether a test is right for you. Also, for most Medica members, the doctor requesting a scan, must first consult with a national radiology specialist to ensure that national treatment guidelines are followed (this does not apply to ER, urgent care or inpatient settings).

How will it change the treatment or outcome? Discuss the treatment plans your doctor may consider, depending on the test results.

Does it have any health risks? Some imaging tests have health risks associated with them. For example, some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to the injection material used in some tests. In addition, some tests, such as CT scans, expose you to a significant amount of radiation.

Are there any alternatives? Ask your doctor about other treatment options. Understand the pros and cons of your choices so you can make an informed decision.

How much does it cost? Costs can vary dramatically, by procedure and facility. You can use the information on Main Street Medica to compare costs for several procedures at a variety of facilities. You should also talk to your doctor about cost.