Patients' FAQs

  • 1. Can I bring someone with me to my appointment?

    Visiting a medical imaging facility can sometimes be unsettling, especially for a new patient or for someone returning for follow-up studies. That's why the role of a family member, friend, or caregiver is so important. Regardless of the results, simply having someone of comfort there by your side can make all the difference in the world.



  • 2. What is an MRI?

    A MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is diagnostic procedure that utilizes a magnetic field and radio frequency waves to produce very detailed images of the body. MRI is used in diagnosing abnormalities of the brain, spine, knee, shoulder as well as major arteries such as the circle of willis, renals, aorta and extremities. Most exams take approximately 30 minutes and some may require an injection of contrast.



  • 3. What can I expect before and during an MRI?

    Before your MRI, you will be asked to change into metal free clothing, such as hospital scrubs to eliminate the effects of any metal on your clothes, in your pockets, etc. Depending on whether you are having a contrast exam or not, the actual time you are inside the magnet is usually less than 30 minutes. You may be in the room somewhat longer as a Technologist prepares you for the exam, helps you get on and off the table, etc. During the MRI exam, you will hear a repeating noise that is louder at certain times. Your Technologist will offer you earplugs. The new Open High Field MRI is designed with optimal comfort in mind while providing uncompromised image quality. If you think you may be claustrophobic, please tell the Technologist. It's natural to feel some claustrophobia in the magnet. After a few minutes, most patients become accustomed to the experience and just use the opportunity to relax. If you are exceedingly claustrophobic and think you cannot get through the exam otherwise, your doctor can prescribe for you a mild sedation. It's very important to tell the Technologist if you have a pacemaker or a metallic implant (stint, aneurysm clip, etc.). If you have a pacemaker, you cannot have an MRI. If you wish, a friend or family member may sit in the room with you. The Technologist will try to let you know via a two-way speaker how long each segment of the exam will take. The magnet has a microphone and if you need to, you can always communicate with the Technologist yourself. The best images are produced when you lie as motionless as possible. Try to find an initial position that is as comfortable as possible, and do not move during your examination without instructions from the Technologist. If you have any questions before your MRI, please ask your Technologist or a Patient Care Associate. A board-certified Radiologist will interpret your images and provide a report to your physician who will explain the results to you.



  • 4. What is a CT scan?

    A CT (computerized tomography) is a method of making three-dimensional x-ray images of the interior of the body. This technique is performed by making detailed x-ray images of sectional views of the body. These angled images allow your doctor and the radiologist to see many different cross-sections of the part of your body being scanned. The patient lies down on the scan table, while the Technologist positions the table. The table will move in and out of a large donut-shaped cylinder, while making the three-dimensional x-ray images.



  • 5. What can expect from my CT scan?

    Before your CT exam, you will be asked to change into scrubs before the exam to eliminate the effects of any metal on your person. A non-contrast CT exam usually takes less than 15 minutes and there is some noise. You may hear some clipping sounds at certain intervals. If you are having a contrast CT exam, the Technologist will insert a needle in your arm that will conduct the contrast media (dye), and also you may have to have oral contrast if scheduled for an abdominal scan. This oral contrast you will need to drink prior to your exam. These types of studies may take up to 30 minutes to perform. During the exam, the Technologist will tilt the CT so it can make images at different angles. You may also be told when to hold your breath and when to breath. The best images are produced when you lie as motionless as possible. Try to find an initial position that is as comfortable as possible, and do not move during your examination without instructions from the Technologist. If you have any questions before your CT scan, please ask your Technologist or a Patient Care Associate. A board-certified radiologist will interpret your images and provide a report to your physician who will explain the results to you.



  • 6. What is an Ultrasound exam?

    An Ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging exam that uses inaudible sound in the frequency range of approximately 20,000 to 10,000,000,000 cycles per second. Ultrasonic echoes are sent into the body by a transducer (probe). The transducer takes electric energy and changes it into acoustic pulses (echoes) that are sent into the patient. The echoes are then received back by the transducer as reflected echoes from the different interfaces of tissues and organs. A two dimensional gray-scale image is then produced by the computer.



  • 7. What can I expect from my Ultrasound exam?

    Before your ultrasound exam, you will be asked to change into a gown or scrubs before the exam to eliminate getting gel on your clothing. An ultrasound exam usually takes 20 - 30 minutes. Your Technologist will apply a gel solution onto the body part to be scanned. A small probe will then be guided across the body to produce the image. During the exam, the Technologist will ask you to turn in different directions, in order to see different body parts. You may also be told when to hold your breath and when to breathe. The best images are produced when you lie as motionless as possible. Try to find an initial position that is as comfortable as possible, and do not move during your examination without instructions from the Technologist. If you have any questions before your ultrasound scan, please ask your Technologist or a Patient Care Associate. A board-certified radiologist will interpret your images and provide a report to your physician who will explain the results to you.



  • 8. What is a Bone Density exam?

    A bone density test, sometimes called a Dexa scan, is a bone density measurement, which indicates how solid bones are, and how strongly they are fortified by calcium. The bone density test is a very simple procedure using a very low dose of radiation. The patient lies down on the scan table and two images are taken, one of the spine and one of the hip. The computer generates images of the region scanned. The computer, to obtain the bone mineral density value, then analyzes the images. Bone mineral measurements are highly correlated with bone strength and have been shown emphatically to predict fractures and the status of osteoporosis.



  • 9. What can I expect from my Bone Density exam?

    A bone density test is a very simple exam to determine the status of osteoporosis. You will be asked to lie on a comfortable table and a sponge will be placed under your knees for more comfort. The actual scan will only take about 15 minutes. The technologist will make an image of your spine and one image of your hip. After these images are made you will be allowed to get up.



  • 10. What is a Flouroscopic X-Ray exam (Arthrogram)?

    A radiology exam performed by watching the organ or body function and movement on a TV monitor.



  • 11. What can I expect from an Flouroscopic X-Ray (Arthrogram)?

    Before your Radiology exam, you will be asked to change into a gown or scrubs before the exam to eliminate the effects of any metal on your person. A routine x-ray exam usually takes less than 30 minutes. You may be laying on a table or standing at a chestboard. If you are having a contrast exam, the Technologist will insert a needle in your arm that will conduct the contrast media (dye) or give you a cup of barium to drink. This exam may take 45 minutes to perform. During the exam, the Technologist will turn you to different positions so they can make images at different angles. You may also be told when to hold you breath and breathe. The best images are produced when you lie as motionless as possible. Try to find an initial position that is as comfortable as possible, and do not move during your examination without instructions from the Technologist. If you have any questions before your Radiology exam, please ask your Technologist or a Patient Care Associate. A board-certified radiologist will interpret your images and provide a report to your physician who will explain the results to you.



  • 12. Tell me a little about Mammograms...what they detect, when should I get one and how do I prepare?

    Mammography has clearly shown to decrease the mortality associated with breast cancer. By having yearly screening mammograms, it has been shown that breast cancer can be detected at an earlier stage and much more curable. Current American Cancer Society guidelines recommend a baseline mammogram by age 40 and yearly screening mammograms after age 40. Do not use powders, deodorant, or perfume on the day of your mammogram. These products contain substances that show up on the x-ray film and can cause an unsatisfactory exam. Also, it is very important to bring your most recent mammogram if that was done at another facility.



  • 13. I'm having a Nuclear Medicine study... what do I need to know?

    Nuclear Medicine scans are used to help assist your doctor in the proper diagnosis of diseases, tumors, infections, and other disorders by the evaluation of organ functions. These scans can show the sizes, shapes and positions of the organs. Unique to Nuclear Medicine scanning is that it will show the function of the organ as opposed to just a picture. Having this type of procedure done will help determine if the organ is functioning properly. Preparing for Your Exam Some of the Nuclear Medicine studies require specific instructions. Your doctor will inform you of these preparations and many of the most common can be found below. You can also call the Imaging Center where your study will be performed and a technologist will advise you of the proper steps toward a successful exam. Hepatobiliary Scan: Do not eat or drink for four hours before your scheduled exam time. Bone Scan: Initially, you will receive an injection, after which you may leave for a 2-4 hour period and then return to the Imaging Center for the remainder of your study. Thyroid Uptake Scan: Please call the Imaging Center for instructions on how to prepare for this exam. Cardiac Study: Please call the Imaging Center for instructions on how to prepare for this exam.



  • 14. I'm concerned about my medical information.. what is your policy on protecting my privacy?

    This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please read it carefully. Our goal is to take appropriate steps to attempt to safeguard any medical or other personal information that is provided to us. We are required to: (i) maintain the privacy of medical information provided to us; (ii) provide notice of our legal duties and privacy practices; and (iii) abide by the terms of our Notice of Privacy Practices currently in effect. INFORMATION COLLECTED ABOUT YOU In the ordinary course of receiving treatment and health care services from us, you will be providing us with personal information such as: Your name, address, and phone number. Information relating to your medical history. Your insurance information and coverage. Information concerning your doctor, nurse or other medical providers. In addition, we will gather certain medical information about you and will create a record of the care provided to you. Some information also may be provided to us by other individuals or organizations that are part of your 'circle of care'- such as the referring physician, your other doctors, your health plan, and close friends or family members. HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE INFORMATION ABOUT YOU We may use and disclose personal and identifiable health information about you in different ways. All of the ways in which we may use and disclose information will fall within one of the following categories, but not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. For Treatment. We will use health information about you to furnish services and supplies to you, in accordance with our policies and procedures. For example, we will use your medical history to assess your health and perform the requested diagnostic services. For Payment. We will use and disclose health information and/or personal data about you to bill for our services in order to and to collect payment from you or your insurance company or a third party (i.e. collection agencies,credit bureaus, etc.). For example, we may need to give a payer information about your current medical condition so that it will pay us for the diagnostic services that we have furnished you. We may also need to inform your payer of the tests that you are going to receive in order to obtain prior approval or to determine whether the service is covered. For Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose information about you for the general operation of our business. For example, we sometimes arrange for accreditation organizations, auditors or other consultants to review our practice, evaluate our operations, and tell us how to improve our services. Public Policy Uses and Disclosures. There are a number of public policy reasons why we may disclose information about you. We may disclose health information about you when we are required to do so by federal, state, or local law. We may disclose protected health information about you in connection with certain public health reporting activities. For instance, we may disclose such information to a public health authority authorized to collect or receive PHI for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability, or at the direction of a public health authority, to an official of a foreign government agency that is acting in collaboration with a public health authority. Public health authorities include state health departments, the Center for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, to name a few. We are also permitted to disclose protected health information to a public health authority or other government authority authorized by law to receive reports of child abuse or neglect. Additionally we may disclose protected health information to a person subject to the Food and Drug Administration's power for the following activities: to report adverse events, product defects or problems, or biological product deviations, to track products, to enable product recalls, repairs or replacements, or to conduct post marketing surveillance. We may disclose your protected health information in situations of domestic abuse or elder abuse. We may disclose protected health information in connection with certain health oversight activities of licensing and other agencies. Health oversight activities include audit, investigation, inspection, licensure or disciplinary actions, and civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings or actions or any other activity necessary for the oversight of 1) the health care system, 2) governmental benefit programs for which health information is relevant to determining beneficiary eligibility, 3) entities subject to governmental regulatory programs for which health information is necessary for determining compliance with program standards, or 4) entities subject to civil rights laws for which health information is necessary for determining compliance. We may disclose information in response to a warrant, subpoena, or other order of a court or administrative hearing body, and in connection with certain government investigations and law enforcement activities. We may release personal health information to a coroner or medical examiner to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We also may release personal health information to organ procurement organizations, transplant centers, and eye or tissue banks. We may release your personal health information to workers' compensation or similar programs. Information about you also will be disclosed when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of others. We may use or disclose certain personal health information about your condition and treatment for research purposes where an Institutional Review Board or a similar body referred to as a Privacy Board determines that your privacy interests will be adequately protected in the study. We may also use and disclose your protected health information to prepare or analyze a research protocol and for other research purposes. If you are a member of the Armed Forces, we may release personal health information about you as required by military command authorities. We also may release personal health information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority. We may disclose your protected health information for legal or administrative proceedings that involve you. We may release such information upon order of a court or administrative tribunal. We may also release protected health information in the absence of such an order and in response to a discovery or other lawful request, if efforts have been made to notify you or secure a protective order. If you are an inmate, we may release protected health information about you to a correctional institution where you are incarcerated or to law enforcement officials. Finally, we may disclose protected health information for national security and intelligence activities and for the provision of protective services to the President of the United States and other officials or foreign heads of state. Our Business Associates. We sometimes work with outside individuals and businesses who help us operate our business successfully. We may disclose your health information to these business associates so that they can perform the tasks that we hire them to do. Our business associates must guarantee to us that they will respect the confidentiality of your personal and identifiable health information. Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care. We may disclose information to individuals involved in your care or in the payment for your care. This includes people and organizations that are part of your "circle of care" -- such as your spouse, your other doctors, or an aide who may be providing services to you. Although we must be able to speak with your other physicians or health care providers, you can let us know if we should not speak with other individuals, such as your spouse or family. Appointment Reminders. We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment or that you should schedule an appointment. Treatment Alternatives. We may use and disclose your personal health information in order to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options, alternatives or health-related services that may be of interest to you. OTHER USES AND DISCLOSURES OF PERSONAL INFORMATION We are required to obtain written authorization from you for any other uses and disclosures of medical information other than those described above. If you provide us with such permission, you may revoke that permission, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your permission, we will no longer use or disclose personal information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization. We will be unable to take back any disclosures already made based upon your original permission. INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS You have the right to ask for restrictions on the ways in which we use and disclose your medical information beyond those imposed by law. We will consider your request, but we are not required, to accept it. You have the right to request that you receive communications containing your protected health information from us by alternative means or at alternative locations. For example, you may ask that we only contact you at home or by mail. Except under certain circumstances, you have the right to inspect and copy medical and billing records about you. If you ask for copies of this information, we may charge you a fee for copying and mailing. If you believe that information in your records is incorrect or incomplete, you have the right to ask us to correct the existing information or correct the missing information. Under certain circumstances, we may deny your request. You have a right to ask for a list of instances when we have used or disclosed your medical information for reasons other than your treatment, payment for services furnished to you, our health care operations, or disclosures you give us authorization to make. These instances would include public health disclosures, victim reporting and court ordered disclosures. If you ask for this information from us more than once every twelve months, we will charge you a fee. You have the right to a copy of this Notice in paper form. You may ask us for a copy at any time. To exercise any of your rights, please contact us in writing at Diagnostic Systems of Georgia, Attn: HIPPA Privacy Officer, 2500 West Broad Street, Suite 106, Athens, Georgia, 30606. CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE We reserve the right to revise or amend the Privacy Notice to allow for additional uses or disclosures of PHI without patient authorization. In the event there is a material change to this Notice, the revised Notice will be posted. In addition, you may request a copy of the revised Notice at any time.



  • 15. I'm concerned about my insurance coverage and my financial responsibility... how can you help?

    Finding your way through the maze of insurance billing can be a daunting journey. As a convenience to you, we will file your claims directly with your insurance company and will assist you in obtaining the maximum fair payment for a given procedure. Diagnostic Systems of Georgia Imaging Centers are Medicare approved facilities and accept assignment on all Medicare claims. Any balance not paid by Medicare is forwarded to your secondary insurance company, where most times, the balance is generally paid in full. We also participate in most local managed care plans accepting payment in full for covered services of those plans which do not have co-insurance or deductible requirements. Please understand that the phrase "usual and customary" as used by the insurance industry is totally unrelated to what local physician providers charge for services, but is the amount the insurance company is willing to pay. You are responsible for any known co-payment or deductible not satisfied at the time of your exam, as well as any non-covered services. When time allows, you will be notified of any payment you need to bring with you to your appointment. Once payment is received from the insurance company, any unpaid balance is forwarded to you. In the event that your insurance company does not make payment within 45 day the unpaid balance becomes your responsibility. Contact the facility where you had your exam for more information.



  • 16. Does DSGA accept Workers Compensation?

    At the time of scheduling or prior to your exam, we will have contacted your employer for payment approval. If your employer does not support your worker's compensation claim, the payment becomes your responsibility.



  • 17. I was injured in an auto accident and am being represented by an attorney.. Can I have my exam done at a DSGA center?

    Costs incurred for exams performed for personal liability/injury cases are your responsibility. You will need to provide us with insurance information, your attorney's name and address, your automobile insurance and agent.



  • 18. Why should I chose a Diagnostic Systems of Georgia Imaging Center over other providers? What makes you different?

    We know you have a choice when it comes to your medical imaging care that's why our goal is to continually and consistently provide you with quality medical imaging and the information you need to put your mind at ease. You are our number one priority! This website was developed just for you - you?ll find everything you need to know about our centers, physicians, services, procedures, insurance, and so much more. And best yet, if you still have a question after leaving our site, then simply pick up the phone and give us a call. Our Centers are conveniently located and accessible to you five days a week. Again, thank you for the trust and confidence you place in all of us. Rest assured, we will continue to strive to meet and exceed your expectations.