Frequently Asked Questions
Everything you need to know about Echelon Health
Absolutely no one wants to die before their time. We all want to stay healthy and enjoy a long and happy life. Sadly, disease doesn't care about what we want. Cancer and coronary heart disease (CHD) can strike, unannounced, at any time. However, if you have an Echelon Health Personal Health Assessment, we can see if there is anything untoward developing inside of you unseen. If there is, chances are we'll find it and you can get it treated.
Take lung cancer as an example. Approximately 50,000 people develop lung cancer each year in the UK. However, lung cancer still has the worst survival rate of all the major cancers with just 5% of people in the UK surviving 10+ years because it is generally not picked up until it causes symptoms by which time it has already spread. Survival rates have not increased significantly over the last 40 years. However, screening for it using the techniques we employ at Echelon Health allows for detection at an early stage when the tumour is just a few mm in size which increases the chance of successful treatment to over 95% 10+ year survival.
Our Platinum preventative health assessment can detect over 90% of the causes of early death, including lung cancer, at a point in their development when something can be done.
We believe we are genuinely unique. At Echelon Health, we don’t use statistical models or probability assessments that are favoured by many other companies and we don’t guess or hypothesise. Instead, we carry out scans and assessments using the best machines operated by the best radiographers, producing images interpreted by the best radiologists and then our medical team, led by one of the most experienced and respected physicians in Harley Street, delivers the report to you along with advice as to what to do next, as required.
Furthermore, we know that a proper and comprehensive preventative assessment of the causes of early death requires us to use the entire range of screening modalities (as they are called) namely CT (Computed Tomography), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and Ultrasound. No single modality can screen for every disease and an “MRI Only” approach in particular simply cannot detect many of the causes of early death and will therefore miss some diseases that could be genuinely life threatening.
Each of us is different. One size does not fit all. That is why we look at every client on a case by case basis. No-one is permitted to go through a Health Assessment at Echelon Health unless a qualified and very experienced physician has reviewed your personal medical history and risk factors. At Echelon Health we provide a truly bespoke service that looks deep inside of you (and only you). You can be assured that with Echelon Health, we take the business of finding out your real state of health, carefully and safely, as seriously as we would do our own. Every time.
Once you have decided to proceed with an Echelon Health preventative health assessment, then the price is fixed. There are no hidden extras for the scans and assessments themselves. If something is found that needs referral onwards to a specialist, that will almost certainly result in additional cost but for the health assessment itself, the price at the beginning is the price throughout.
An Echelon Health preventative health assessment is truly comprehensive. For example, our Platinum Health Assessment will detect over 92% of the diseases that could lead to premature death. Our statistical analysis of the ONS (Office of National Statistics) data for causes of death shows that at best, an MRI only health assessment will only detect between 50% and 60% of the diseases that could lead to premature death.
We are confident that for many other clinics to be able to match our level of comprehensive disease detection, they will need to arrange for additional scans to be carried out and the final cost will likely be greater than the Echelon Health preventative health assessment.
We know that someone people don't want to have a large array of Scans and assessments for a wide range of reasons, perhaps time related or maybe even because of budget. We understand that and have created Evergreen as a consequence.
Actually, Evergreen is far more than just spreading the cost or the time. It's a different approach entirely with some elements of the Programme undertaken each year of the 3 year programme such as blood tests, ECG, fully body mole screen and follow up consultations. Not only that, but we offer you complementary Babylon Health membership for each year you remain on the programme as well.
It's really simple to sign up and involves setting up a Direct Debit for payment but even that is really simple.
Evergreen is for those who like to take things at their own pace but still have the confidence that comes from a comprehensive preventative health assessment package.
Babylon Health are the leading provider of 24/7 virtual GP services and we are delighted to be partnering with them.
Babylon's mission is to put an accessible and affordable health service in the hands of everyone on earth. They use the power of AI (Artificial Intelligence) together with a network of medical experts and Doctors to provide 24/7 access to treatment advice and face to face appointments. As such, Babylon is a complementary service to Echelon Health.
If you purchase either a Platinum Health Assessment or sign up to Evergreen Membership then we offer you complementary membership of Babylon Health. We pay for the membership and then give you a code which you use when setting up your account with Babylon (which is incredibly easy). Then the relationship is between you and Babylon from that point onwards.
The benefit of complementary membership of Babylon Health is provided by us at our discretion and is entirely separate from whichever Health Assessment you have purchased (Platinum or Evergreen). As such, it may be withdrawn at any time by Echelon Health.
An Echelon Health personal health assessment is generally suitable for anyone aged over 35 years for males and 40 years for females. However, if you have particular concerns or a strong family history of a specific disease, please get in touch with us and we will assess your individual risk factors.
No, a referral from your GP or hospital doctor is not necessary. All assessments are subject to you completing a detailed medical questionnaire which will be reviewed by one of our experienced doctors to determine your suitability for an assessment.
A common criticism levelled at health assessments is that they only pander to the ‘worried well’. Such criticism ignores the fact that all of the NHS health screening programs such as cervical and breast cancer screening depend on people being sufficiently worried enough about their health to participate in the screening.
Another criticism is that the assessments can detect abnormalities about which we are unsure of the significance and which require further investigation causing worry and possible unnecessary treatment. The radiologists used by Echelon Health to report the scans on our clients are all senior consultant specialists reporting on their area of expertise and as such are generally experienced enough to avoid confusion and will give definitive guidance as to the scan findings.
A common concern and theoretical risk, and indeed one used by companies justifying their MRI scanning only approach to health screening, relates to the radiation exposure from CT scans or x-rays. However, the simple and unavoidable truth is that many of the most common preventable diseases such as coronary artery disease, lung cancer and colon cancer can ONLY be detected by CT scanning; MRI is just not able to detect early stages of these diseases, if at all. The CT scanner that Echelon Health uses is one of the most advanced in the world and exposes patients to far lower radiation doses than older scanners which caused concern. For instance, our CT coronary angiogram uses doses equivalent to just a few x-rays, or equivalent to going on holiday to Cornwall for several weeks (due to its higher natural background radiation). Furthermore, all of our scans utilizing radiation comply with strict regulations as to who is able to be scanned, and all scan requests are vetted both by our medical director and a superintendent radiographer.
If your Health Assessment package does not involve a colonoscopy then the preparation is minimal. You will just need to fast for 4 hours before the assessment and avoid any caffeine for 12 hours.
However, if you are undergoing a Virtual CT Colonoscopy then there is a little more to it. You will need to undergo a low residue diet for 24 hours before the scan and then drink something called Omnipaque which is an oral contrast agent (a kind of harmless dye) that we use in gastrointestinal imaging. It tags faecal material enabling the radiologist to distinguish between any residue and colon polyps.
Of course, it’s best if we can remove all the residue in the first place to enable the gastrointestinal images to be as accurate as possible. To do that, we ask you to take something called Moviprep, which is a straightforward laxative (albeit rather powerful), the day before the scan. It is best to be close to a toilet and to avoid public travel for several hours after taking this.
However, there is nothing to be concerned about. We send you Omnipaque and Moviprep well in advance with clear instructions on how to take it in an easy to follow instruction guide. We will also help you with any nutritional questions you may have and we are always on the end of phone at all times should you have any additional questions.
We use CT Scanners for some tests because only CT Scans can detect certain diseases. For instance, CT scanners are the only scanner which can adequately image the heart arteries. Echelon Health’s Aquilion ONE CT scanner has a spatial resolution of just 0.3mm and therefore can see inside the arteries in extraordinary detail to determine the earliest signs of any ‘furring up’ (atherosclerosis) which, if left untreated, can lead to a heart attack. CT scanning is also the only means of visualising the so called ‘soft’ plaque which is the most vulnerable type of furring up and that responsible for the majority of causes of sudden death in middle aged men. MRI scanners are simply unable to visualise the inside of heart arteries to detect atherosclerosis; they can only visualise the overall heart muscle to see if you have scarring resulting from a previous heart attack, which is rather counterintuitive to a preventive health screening.
The same is true of lung cancer and colon cancer. CT imaging is the only means to visualise the lungs in sufficient detail to diagnose early abnormalities. It allows radiologists to detect cancers as small as a couple of millimetres which dramatically increases the chance of subsequent cure. Waiting for any abnormality to become visible on a chest x-ray reduces 5 year survival rates to less than 5%, and MRI can at best only detect large abnormalities in the lung which then require CT scanning to clarify their nature. CT is also the only means of performing a virtual colonoscopy and screening for colorectal cancer – one of the most preventable cancers of all, as almost all of them develop from polyps over many years and which are visible on the colonoscopy.
Some clinics claim they don’t carry out CT scans because of the risks posed by radiation. However, whilst it is true that CT scanning involves very low doses of gamma radiation, the amounts involved with the modern scanners we use are really very low. It is important to distinguish the position today compared with say 10 – 20 years ago. Indeed, until recently, the NHS used 16 slice scanners which were slow and produced grainy images with significant radiation exposure to patients. A slice is generally a 0.5mm section through the body which is visualised with each rotation of the CT scanner tube i.e a 16 slice scanner could visualise 8 mm with each rotation.
In contrast, the Aquilion ONE CT scanner which Echelon Health uses has an incredible 320 detector row which is then mirrored to allow 640 ‘slices’ to be imaged. This allows the largest field of view of any scanner worldwide and in addition to enhancing its accuracy, means the images come at a very low radiation dose.
Notwithstanding all of that, we equally accept that there are theoretical risks and however small we think they may be, it is vital they are explained to you so that you can be comfortable with the assessment we are proposing to carry out and give true informed consent That is why we have put plenty of information on our website, why we provide you with useful information sheets ahead of, and during, your visit and why our team are on hand whenever you want to discuss what is involved as well as explain the benefits and risks. And most important of all, you can withdraw your consent to continue with any scan at any time.
Yes, very much so because we recognize that MRI is the optimal means of imaging the:
- brain and spinal cord
- brain and neck arteries
- bones and joints
- prostate gland
The strength of the magnets (measured in Tesla) within the MRI scanner largely determines the quality and detail of the scan images. Most MRI scanners, and certainly the majority within the NHS, generally operate at a strength of 1.5 Tesla which provides a good image quality. However, optimum images are obtained from using a 3 Tesla MRI (twice the normal strength) which provides a greater signal-to-noise ratio. This is especially so for prostate gland imaging and therefore, so called multi-parametric 3T MRI scanning is the new ‘gold standard’ for detecting prostate cancer – the most common cancer in men.
Due to their increased expense and the complexities of operating them, there are currently just a handful of 3T MRI scanners in central London, including one within ESC’s (Echelon Health’s preferred imaging partner) other centre located just a 4 minute walk from our main Harley Street location. We know Echelon Health clients are very happy that we have made the decision to use this specific industry leading scanner and to make the very short trip for a scanner of this quality and rarity, which delivers significantly better image quality. It is the opinion of our Medical Director that this is definitely worth the slight inconvenience to our clients of having to change locations during their assessment.
All the CT scans are carried out at 68 Harley Street on the Aquilion 640 CT Scanner we use. This is also true of all the blood tests we carry out, the ECG, CT EOS Upright scan and any ultrasound scans. Furthermore, if you are having a Full Body Mole Scan as part of your Health Assessment then that is also carried out by our trusted, award winning partner The Mole Clinic at 68 Harley Street as well.
However, we are committed to our clients having access to the very best equipment and scans that are available. There are very few 3T MRI scanners in London but we have access to one of them in the Harley Street village and it is just a short walk away from 68 Harley Street. You will be escorted there and back and if you prefer, we will arrange for transportation to take you there and back as well.
Our clients tell us that given a choice between spending the whole day in a single luxury environment that looks great but does not have all the optimum equipment, or making a short additional trip to have a specific scan done on pretty much the best MRI Scanner there is in London and which stands the best chance of early disease detection, they will always go for the best scan possible.
Although we can’t be absolutely firm about the timings for the day as we want to ensure you have the most personal service possible, it is sensible to plan on around:
- Healthy Heart - 1 hour
- Gold - 4 hours
- Platinum - 5 hours
To see how a typical schedule works out for one of our Health Assessments, check out the details here.
We do know that sometimes things happen that are unavoidable and so our cancellation policy is, we believe, very fair. However, we have to have one because the scanning machines we utilise are in use pretty much all the time and it’s not that easy to fill a slot if we don’t get sufficient notice and that has a cost.
In summary, if you have paid the Service Fee and an Assessment has been arranged, booked and notified to you but you then have to cancel or fail to attend that Assessment for whatever reason, the full Service Fee is payable but subject to the following rebates:
- You cancel 48 hours or more before the specified Assessment time, a rebate of 50% of the Service Fee;
- You cancel less than 48 hours but more than twenty-four (24) hours before the specified Assessment time, a rebate of 25% of the Service Fee;
- You cancel less than twenty-four (24) hours before the specified Assessment time, a rebate of ten percent (10%) of the Service Fee;
- You fail to attend the Assessment without any prior notice to Echelon, no rebate.
We will always do our very best to reschedule your Health Assessment for a convenient day if it turns out you have to do change the day.
You can check out a summary of our Terms and Conditions HERE.
An Echelon Health Personal Health Assessment comprises a complex set of different scans and assessments and we believe it is vital that the best radiologist in their field reports on each individual component.
For instance, the neuroradiologist who reports on our brain scans is a Consultant in Diagnostic Neuroradiology at two of the most internationally renowned neurological institutions in the world. The Radiologist who reports on our gastro-intestinal scans is a Consultant in GI Medicine at one of London’s leading teaching hospitals and is both a widely published researcher and teacher. Our Cardiac radiologists are generally all Level 3 qualified (highest grade) and work at some of the UK’s leading cardiac institutions. As such, a Platinum Health Assessment can involve your different scans being reported on by upto 8 separate specialist Consultant Radiologists. At Echelon Health, we make sure your scans and reports are reviewed by the best there are – that is rarely ever possible on the same day but we think quality, not speed, is far better.
If, however, any of our reporting radiologists observes something on one your scans whilst they are being reviewed, that requires urgent action they will bring it to the attention of the Echelon Health Medical Director immediately so that appropriate treatment can be taken.
The detailed nature of our assessments means that abnormalities are frequently detected. However, the majority of these will be mildly abnormal blood results which may require simple lifestyle advice or discussion of possible medical treatment. Occasionally, more serious abnormalities will be detected on the scans. You can be reassured that our experienced consultant physicians will discuss all of your results with you during your consultation and explain their significance.
If they consider that onward referral is appropriate, they will utilize their personal knowledge of who is the best person to deal with your issue and make a rapid referral to the appropriate top specialist.
At Echelon Health we will be with you every step of the way to ensure you receive the best treatment possible for whatever is found.
This depends on your personal circumstances and takes into account your age, risk factors and the results of your original assessment.
However, in general we would suggest undergoing a health assessment every 3-5 years. If specific abnormalities are detected, then more focused scanning on a particular area of the body might be suggested at an earlier interval.
Echelon Heath is registered with and regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for the provision of a regulated healthcare service.
Echelon Health is committed to looking after your data as if it were our own. We obsess about data protection and confidentiality and have invested in the systems necessary to deliver a gold standard service. Indeed, we believe the systems we have in place go above and beyond those that are required.
For the storage and transmission of medical records we use encrypted systems that undergo periodic penetration testing and we use a best in class approach to the storage, encryption and protection of any login details and passwords.
You can read our Privacy & Cookies Policy by clicking HERE.
For our Individual Clients, we prefer the use of BACS as a means of securely transferring funds. We can take credit card payments but these need to be done in person so as to comply with PCI-DSS requirements.
For our Evergreen service, we use an automated Direct Debit mandate system to make the process of set up and payments as hassle free as possible.
Not at the moment but we are exploring the possibility of making this option available in the near future.
We find that the vast majority of Health Insurance companies and UK medical insurance policies do not cover the cost of preventive Health Assessments.
However, we are always happy to look at this on a case by case basis but you will need to check these details with your insurer first.
Both MRI and CT scanning are contraindicated in pregnancy, and while we can safely perform ultrasound and blood tests during pregnancy, we would generally recommend that you wait until after you have your baby before attending for a health assessment.
The entrance to 68 Harley Street does have a step up from the pavement but it is sufficiently shallow to permit access by wheelchairs.
We have made reasonable adjustments to accommodate clients with physical disabilities so we do have a Stannah Chair lift that enables access to the scanning suites and we also have an MRI suitable wheelchair for our Open MRI scanner. However, we are not permitted under manual handling regulations to lift clients out of or back into wheelchairs.
Therefore, if you do require assistance of this type, you will need to bring a colleague, friend or family member along to assist you. Just let us know in advance and we shall be happy to make the necessary arrangements.
When you come back for your follow up consultation, we will ensure this is carried out in one of our downstairs consulting rooms.
We are sorry that it is not possible for you to bring your children when you come for a Health Assessment at Echelon Health. We take our obligations with regards to Safeguarding extremely seriously and our regulated policies do not permit us to cater for or look after any child under the age of 18 whether in the scanning areas or in the general waiting areas.