Why does my doctor provide me with results instead of the technologist?

Mayfair • Sep 04, 2018

This is one of the most common questions we are asked by our patients. Many patients want to know right away what the technologist is seeing and don’t understand why they need to wait to hear from their doctor when the technologist is the one performing the test. Let us explain why.

Interpretation of your diagnostic imaging test

Whether you are having a test performed by a medical radiation technologist, a sonographer, or an MRI, CT, or Nuclear Medicine technologist, they are obtaining information that is only part of your complete medical assessment. Often, trying to diagnose your medical concern may involve blood work, other diagnostic tests, a physical exam, and your clinical history. This is so that your doctor is able to gain a comprehensive understanding of your complaint or condition and reach an accurate diagnosis.

A technologist is qualified and registered to perform exams by their profession’s national professional association and certifying body. They are acquiring diagnostic images according to specific protocols, so that a radiologist (a medical doctor with many years of specialized education) can interpret the images to provide an accurate report of the findings and results of your study. Should the technologist identify any immediate concerns, they will bring them to the attention of the radiologist; however, they are not legally permitted to divulge any results directly to you, the patient.

We understand that you may feel nervous or perhaps even anxious about your exam or your results, but it’s important to remember that your care is our top priority. Our technologists are there to capture the best images possible, but also to take care of you and ease any anxiety you may have. That may include simply explaining what will happen during your exam, or it could include some discussion of what they are scanning within the limits of what they can share.

If there are immediate concerns with the examination or your doctor has asked for an immediate result, your results will be phoned or faxed to your referring physician. Otherwise, results will be received by your doctor within one to two business days depending on the type of exam. Your doctor will then be able to review your results with you, along with the results of any other test you may have undergone, and determine the next steps in your health care treatment plan.

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