Providing an MRI facility in Moray could help reduce NHS Grampian's use of third party-operated mobile MRI services, says the health board.
An MRI service has been proposed for Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin.
NHS Grampian uses MRI vans to cover rural areas, and last year more than 6,8000 patients were scanned this way.
It said the Dr Gray's facility, combined with other MRI sites, could eventually help reduce reliance on the mobile services.
The health board said there were still pressures on its MRI service due to the Covid pandemic.
Proposals for the Elgin facility are related to wider expansion plans of NHS Grampian's treatment services.
Its board approved a standard business case for the facility. Final costs and other details will be put before the board at a later date.
A report to Thursday's board meeting said it could cost an estimated £5.5m to build and more than £1m annually to run.
It also said patients from as far as Inverurie, in Aberdeenshire, could be offered scans at Dr Gray's.