Cost vs. convenience: What if you could have both?
Which would you rather have in your health care: convenience or low cost? Oftentimes, when choosing one, the other is sacrificed. If you have ever had an x-ray, MRI or CT scan, you are well aware of the expense involved. However, choosing to get your scans done outside of a hospital could save you big bucks.
Hospital radiology departments can generate a lot of traffic for the perceived convenience of location and as a one-stop shop for medical care. However, there is no shortage of articles that will tell you that diagnostic imaging is more expensive at a hospital than the same services cost at a freestanding imaging center.
Patients seeking the most affordable imaging services should be aware that hospitals and their affiliated facilities are usually more expensive than freestanding outpatient centers, like Fox Valley Imaging. This is in part because hospitals are allowed to charge Medicare and most other commercial insurers a facility fee. It can cost up to 1/3 less to have an imaging exam at a freestanding imaging facility.
Sometimes we tend to trust the old adage “you get what you pay for” and believe that paying more means we receive higher quality. When it comes to imaging pricing though, higher cost does not automatically denote higher quality.
If hospital services are not of significantly higher quality, why are they so much more expensive than freestanding imaging centers? Some factors include the power of certain brands over others, the cost of 24 hour operations versus standard Monday through Friday business hours, as well as the ability to charge whatever price they want, thanks in part to the lack of price transparency and the lack of comparison shopping done by consumers for medical procedures.
Along with sacrificing lower price, people using a hospital’s services tend to experience longer wait times and receive less personalized, quality customer service than independent imaging centers offer. Much of the time, it’s a numbers game for big health networks and hospitals. They get so much volume that they have to rush patients in and out, rather than focusing on customer service, because there are so many customers waiting to go next.
In essence, by going to a hospital, you’re paying more for a longer wait period and lower quality customer service. Independent imaging centers, like Fox Valley Imaging, on average feature lower-priced procedures, procedures that use the same technology of the same high quality that yield the same results of the hospital radiology scans. Plus, you will receive a greater focus on providing exemplary customer service.
In addition to offering a better customer experience, independent imaging centers can provide a better experience for the referring physician’s office.