I contacted SLI to see if I it was possible to communicate with the radiologist before or after an imaging appointment (via email, phone, writing, or in person), as I have some unique circumstances (possible peripheral nerve problems and failure to diagnose for 2 years). I emailed this question 3-4 days ago and got no response or acknowledgement. I then called the office to follow-up with my question. The first person said I could speak to the radiologist, I just had to ask when I went in for my appointment. Because he couldn't provide assurances or specifics about the process, I asked to speak to the office manager. I got an automated system that stated I needed to enter a voicemail number or directory name--which I had not been given. I called back and another woman laughed gently and said she would get me connected. Sadly, the same thing happened. I called back a third time and the third rep, to her credit, had me explain some of my circumstances. She put me on hold for about 30 seconds and came back and said no, I couldn't communicate with the radiologist at all, that everything had to go through the ordering physician.
While it isn't uncommon for medical facilities to have this policy of absolutely no contact between radiologist and patient, it is old-school and not in the patient's best interest. Many places are making changes. There should at least be exceptions or ways to submit written communication. They could even charge for a consult or appointment time (like most facilities do for record requests). Going through the ordering doctor takes an incredibly long time--first, you must schedule another appointment, then you must tell the doctor what input/questions she needs to give/ask, then the office must actually deliver the communication to the radiologist (another several days), then the office must wait for the radiologist response, and finally, the response has to be communicated to the patient on phone or in-person. At best, this will take 3 weeks, and if there's something that wasn't addressed, this cycle begins again. It is also expensive for the patient, delays diagnosis and treatment, and is a hassle for the ordering physician, who like the radiologist, is short on time. If SLI wants to assist patients, someone needs to make occasional exceptions to policies, think outside the box, problem solve, make an effort to go above-and-beyond, and connect on a human level, i. E,--truly make an effort to help instead of going through the motions. The medical system has become quite sad. I still believe someone at some facility is going to make the effort to help me in my non-traditional case--there are a bunch of imaging facilities in Orlando--and they will get the positive review and reference from me.