Radiologist Garry Choy talks about the Radiology Consultation Clinic, a pilot program that provides an opportunity for patients at Mass General to consult directly with a radiologist.
The rise of radiology patient consultation services
As patients seek out more information about their conditions, tests and treatments, some are looking to consult directly with radiologists. While consultation with referring physicians has always been an important role for radiologists, direct patient consultation is not a common practice.
At Mass General, the Department of Radiology began a Radiology Consultation Clinic featured in a recent article from Diagnostic Imaging. "We started to realize our referring physicians, and primary care physicians in particular, had questions for us from their patients," said Garry Choy, MD, one of the clinic's founders. "They wanted us to comment and clarify. Patients started to read reports and get closer to their imaging results and they wanted to know what certain terms meant."
A pilot program for patients who wish to learn more about imaging techniques and the implications of findings, the Radiology Consultation Clinic gives radiologists the opportunity to allay fears, discuss radiation risk, or discuss the advantages and disadvantages of imaging methods such as CT or MRI. The goal is to support both patients and referring physicians. Patients have been pleased that they were able to speak with a radiologists and have reported feeling more in control of their diagnosis and treatment.