We sat down with consultant radiologist Dr Khalid Latief, and osteopath Jasper Nissim, who are co-founders of Scan.com - the UK’s largest diagnostic imaging platform. We asked them their top do’s and don’t’s for imaging referrals, to help you make the most of the Scan.com integration within your Rehab Guru dashboard, and get fast imaging no matter your healthcare discipline.
Do give as much relevant detail about the patient’s clinical history as possible.
Jasper and Khalid both agree that by far the most important part of any referral is the clinical history and relevant information. For example, in a referral for a knee MRI, instead of saying ‘pain in the knee’, it is important to tell the story of the patient’s symptoms and why they might be happening. For example:
‘As a clinical radiologist, I am asked to provide an opinion on an imaging study, whether it’s an MRI scan or an X-ray or a complex study such as an angiogram. So in order to provide this, I need good relevant clinical information. This is obtained by a good clinical history within the referral notes.’
When you make a referral with Scan.com, you’ll be guided through a simple online form to collect these details, which are then reviewed by Khalid, Jasper and their team for clinical justification.
Both Jasper and Khalid point out that asking ‘The Question’ is one of the most important aspects of an imaging referral. Even if you’re not sure of what you think might be causing the patient’s symptoms, it is worth posing a question you would like the scan results to answer.
For example, Jasper suggests adding ‘suspected ACL rupture’ or ‘suspected rotator cuff tear,’ to direct the imaging, and help the radiologist either confirm or rule out the hypothesis you have about the patient’s condition. This is more useful than simply writing ‘knee pain’ or ‘sore shoulder.’
Khalid gives the following example for abdominal imaging:
“After taking a history of abdominal pain, the referring clinician needs to ask the question as to what could potentially be causing the pain. Could it be gallbladder disease, or is it appendicitis? This question should be included in the clinical information for your referrals. Once the radiologist gets this information, they can investigate and examine the evidence provided by the imaging.”
It is brilliant to know Scan.com’s clinicians validate all scans to make sure they don't facilitate this.
While appropriate clinical information is a key part of a referral, there are lots of different variables that might play a role in which scan you should choose for a patient. These include:
This can make it difficult to decide when to refer, what for, and where - especially if you don’t often refer for imaging. At Scan.com, Khalid, Jasper, and their medical team are on-hand to review referrals, verify medical justifications, and provide support about which option is most suitable for each individual patient.
If they feel a different scan type would be more suitable, or if they need further information to decide, they will contact the patient to ask a few more questions.
In some cases, a referral may be rejected if there is no clinical justification for a scan - this accounts for 16% of all refunded scans at Scan.com.
You can also find imaging referral guides within the Scan.com area of Rehab Guru.
Questions about which scan to select shouldn’t stop you and your patients from accessing imaging, or present a risk of losing your patient to a different referral pathway via their GP or a hospital.
Khalid is a Consultant Radiologist based at Nottingham University Hospital, UK. After completing his medical degree from the University of Dundee, he has trained and worked in many countries including New Zealand and in the USA completing his Fellowship in Thoracic Radiology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. With over 22 years of experience working as a National Health Service Consultant, he is also an educator and trainer both in the UK and internationally including Europe, Pakistan, Malaysia, Middle East and Africa.
Jasper founded Scan.com in 2017 with the sole aim of providing patients quick and affordable access to high quality diagnostic scans in the UK. As a registered osteopath, he noticed the difficulties of arranging imaging for his patients. Since then he's grown the business to become the market leader in the UK, offering the largest network of MRI scanners in the UK, scanning over 10,000 patients over the previous few years.
David is a Chartered Physiotherapist with clinical experience in the NHS, MoD and professional sport. He continues to work clinically alongside his development role in Rehab Guru. David is passionate about Health tech to transform outcomes for patients.