The Patient Journey [for referring physicians]
1. Scan Request Form
You must complete and sign a referral form for your patient requesting the scan. If they have previous diagnostic imaging reports, have copies of those sent with the request form. Once we receive the request form, our doctor reviews it to make sure that the scan is protocolled correctly. This takes 1-2 days.
2. Patient Intake Call
With our doctor’s approval, our medical office assistant will contact the patient to explain how we do the scan and will ask them questions about their medical history, medications, etc. If we haven’t received previous diagnostic reports and images, we’ll ask for these, too. They will then be scheduled for an appointment, usually within a week, and we’ll walk them through the booking and scanning process.
3. Preparing for a Scan
In preparing for their scan, the patient should avoid strenuous exercise for 24 hours before their appointment and follow a high protein, low carbohydrate and low sugar diet the day before.
4. Day of the Scan
They can take their medication if taken without food. If any medications need to be stopped before the scan, we will advise the patient at the time of booking. For diabetic patients, please refer here for more information. They should drink 3-4 glasses of water before coming to the appointment.
During the scan, the patient must lie flat for 45 minutes. If they require medication to remain calm during the procedure, please discuss their options with them. We welcome friends and family members, but it is not possible for them to be in the private room or the scanning room due to radiation exposure. We do have a comfortable waiting area for them, which includes drinks, snacks, TV, other entertainment, and full wireless internet service. Guests may also leave and come back as they wish.
6. Scan Procedures
When the patient arrives at the clinic, they will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire. We will then weigh them to calculate how much fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG tracer, necessary for scanning) to administer. The patient will then be taken to a private room where we will assess their vital signs and establish IV access. After they are injected with FDG, they will relax for about 1 hour, giving the FDG time to move throughout the body. It is important that they are not overly stimulated during this time, so reading, TV, and internet use is not possible. Excessive movement is also not recommended.
7. During the Scan
During the scan, the patient will lie on an imaging table that will slowly move them through the scanner while images are acquired. The scan will last approximately 30-45 minutes, it is important that they remain still. They will be provided with a warm blanket as the room is kept cool, to allow for optimal function of the camera. A radiologist and a registered nurse are on site for any contrast scans, to ensure patient safety.
8. After the Scan
Once the scan is complete, they will return to their private room to gather their belongings. There are a variety of snack and beverages in the reception area, we encourage them to help themselves. Alternatively, they may bring their own food, or leave for lunch.
9. The Scan Images
We provide them with copies of their scan images on DVD (one copy for them to keep for their records and one for them to bring to their next appointment with the referring physician). This process takes 30-45 minutes.
10. Obtaining the Results
Once our nuclear medicine physician or radiologist have interpreted the scan, we will fax a copy of the report to the referring physicians, any cc’d doctors and any doctors the patient has requested. We will call the patient when the results have been released so that they can follow up. Please note the report can take up to 5 business days.