After several months of pain in your shoulder or knee and conservative measures, you feel something more serious may be going on in your joint. A tear? Cartilage damage? Ligament injury? Plain film x-rays will likely not show these types of injuries and soft tissue damage. So you really just want to get an MRI to get to the root of the problem. You want to know what is causing your chronic shoulder or knee pain.

So, you are pretty sure you need an MRI. Now what? Call your doctor to get a referral? It is likely your doctor (and the insurance company) will want you to come in for an office visit. But that takes time and money.

The visit can seem sort of silly: you recap what you've done for your shoulder or knee pain over the last few weeks to months. Your doctor asks if you have tried the usuals:  NSAIDs (e.g. Ibuprofen), Physical Therapy and activity modification.

You ask for an MRI referral. Your doctor responds with something like, “An MRI would be nice to evaluate your knee / shoulder pain, but it can cost a lot of money. Your insurance may not approve it or cover it without some hassle factor. I suspect you’ll need something called a ‘prior authorization’ which is sort of a pain in the butt and requires some paperwork shuffle between us and your insurance. And even after doing the paperwork and ensuring my documentation supports the need for a MRI, your insurance may still slap a denial stamp on our referral. So...what would you like me to do? “

How great would it be if you could just request a referral for an MRI online? A "no referral MRI" or "self referral MRI" so to speak. Avoid the hassles of taking time off work for a doctor’s appointment. Let your online concierge physician from Cirrus Medical Network (CirrusMED) help you get that MRI. Which pathway below looks more appealing?


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