Benefits of Outpatient Imaging: Lower-Cost MRI and More

September 29, 2022 – 4 min read

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Eileen sat at her kitchen table, her head in her hand. She rubbed the back of her neck and groaned. She’d been having pain in her arms and neck for weeks, but nothing seemed to help. Not a massage, nor the medicine her doctor prescribed. The next step, her doctor told her, was an MRI scan to rule out conditions like a cervical herniated disc. She didn’t know it yet, but outpatient imaging would provide her with a low-cost MRI…and the answers her doctor needed for her pain.

With her daughter’s high school graduation (and college tuition) around the corner, Eileen wasn’t sure she had the money or the time to move forward with an MRI. After all, she’d heard they were expensive. But Eileen wanted to understand why her neck pain wasn’t getting better.

Medical imaging costs can be quite high when the MRI or CT scan is done at a hospital, and it’s often difficult to find out in advance what your out-of-pocket costs will be. The inconvenience of going to a hospital—from navigating the complex hospital setting or struggling to find nearby parking to possibly having to go through the Emergency Department to access imaging—also stops some people from getting imaging.

By getting an MRI scan or other scans done at an outpatient imaging center like Touchstone Medical Imaging, you’ll get three important benefits:

  • Significantly lower costs—up to 60% less than at a hospital
  • Access to advanced imaging technology
  • The convenience of going to a freestanding center with extended or weekend hours to meet your schedule

Lower cost of MRI and other outpatient imaging

Medical imaging at hospitals typically costs more than at freestanding imaging centers because of the facility classification. While health plans and the amount covered by health insurance will make a difference, you can still expect to pay higher out-of-pocket costs at a hospital.

Hospitals have higher overhead costs, which affects the cost to patients. In addition, the radiologist who reads the scan might charge additional fees for interpreting the scan. All these expenses drive up average costs of hospital imaging. While hospitals are required by law to provide price estimates, patients may face challenges when trying to determine in advance if the estimate may or may not include all the fees a patient will be expected to pay. Because independent imaging centers specialize solely in imaging, they can benefit from economies of scale, making costs lower for their patients. In addition, Touchstone Medical Imaging incorporates all costs into their estimates for a single bill.

Luckily, when Eileen raised her concerns about cost with her doctor, he mentioned Touchstone Medical Imaging. Eileen made a quick online search and found a center just a few blocks from her Dallas house. With her insurance card and doctor’s order on the kitchen table in front of her, she called the center. In just a few minutes, the receptionist told her exactly what her MRI would cost.

Touchstone Medical Imaging offers MRI and other outpatient imaging, including CT scans, X-rays and more, at up to 60% less than the cost of hospital imaging. After getting an order from your doctor, make an appointment at the Touchstone Medical Imaging center most convenient for you.

High-quality results

Some people, like Eileen, avoid outpatient imaging centers, assuming the standard of imaging is lower than hospital imaging. However, outpatient imaging centers focus exclusively on imaging. This means they invest in the latest machines and technology for all imaging types, resulting in detailed images. Eileen’s doctor told her that, in his experience, Touchstone Medical Imaging has always provided him with precise, reliable results.

Convenience of outpatient imaging

Outpatient imaging centers like Touchstone Medical Imaging are designed with customer convenience in mind. Same-day and next-day appointments are often available, and many centers offer evening and weekend hours to accommodate busy schedules.

Hospitals sometimes postpone appointments due to emergency imaging needs. At outpatient centers, you can count on getting your imaging at the planned time. Touchstone Medical Imaging also offers convenient scheduling and insurance processing services. Plus, scan results arrive quickly, saving time for referring doctors and patients alike.

Eileen scheduled her MRI for the next evening. It was a hectic day—she worked all morning, then took her daughter to graduation rehearsal. The highlight of the day was hearing her daughter practice her valedictory speech. Eileen reflected on the busy morning and afternoon as her time in the scanner passed by quickly. By the next day, her doctor had her scan results and had called her to set up an appointment for the next steps on her path to healing—and to the future.

Touchstone Medical Imaging offers convenient, cost-effective outpatient imaging performed by skilled, compassionate technologists. After receiving an order from your doctor for an MRI or other outpatient imaging, contact your nearest Touchstone Medical Imaging center to schedule an appointment.