We have been asked by CEO’s and radiologists, “How can I extend the life of our MRI system?”
In this short summary, here are the primary answers to this question.
Extend the life of your MRI scanner
1) Schedule regular PM’s (Preventive Maintenance) with the vendor service group.
When you need service on your Toyota or BMW, you take it to an individual who understands the intricacies of a Toyota or BMW dealer. With an MRI scanner, the item is one of the top ten most complicated man made items on the planet. One of the most important ways on how to get more life out of an MRI scanner is regularly scheduled maintenance and service. The specific vendor field service MRI teams are trained on spotting service issues early. Very often, some of the third party firms can do the same, but if you use a third party vendor, ask if they get updates on the system through vendor specific training events. Get all squeaks silenced, and carefully check for artifacts in your image quality. Have all MRI hardware coils evaluated, scanned and ask for the results on these tests, as an additional request. (Believe it or not, this action is not usually done during a regularly scheduled PM.)
2) Monitor the helium cryogenic level daily.
This is something most sites have their MRI technologists do if they are accredited through one of the three accrediting bodies. A resourceful documented reference tally can alleviate questions if your system’s helium levels change. Too much of a variant in helium means the MRI system could have a leak or a heating issue, and as one of the costly items in maintaining an MRI system, making certain the system’s cryogenic levels are monitored is important. Your technologist should know to call service if they spot too much of a variance.
3) Make certain the RF door to the MRI exam room seals completely.
If the seal uses the copper RF type shield with fingers lining the inside of the door, these often get broken over time just with the door opening and closing. This RF shield keeps aberrant RF signals out of the room, so your MRI image quality does not have artifacts. If any of these are broken, your shield is not tight and you may have leaks. Newer MRI rooms in some universities are not installed with any windows in order to completely reduce any outside RF signals, as RF shielded windows have been found to allow some RF through the ports.
4) Keep your system and hardware clean with regularly scheduled and documented cleanings.
Ethically, every MRI exam table and RF coil used should be cleaned between use. Unfortunately, often only the sheet gets changed because of busy schedules, demand on the technologist and the attrition of tech aides.
The inside of the MRI gantry bore should get cleaned between each patient also, but we would venture to guess that less than five percent of radiology sites nationally actually perform this task.
The time demand placed on the staff for getting the patients in and out on a timely schedule, the delay for repeats if a patient moves during one of the sequence acquisitions, delays the entire exam schedule often without an opportunity to make up that lost time. Include the fact that the table and hardware need to be changed out, and the likelihood that the scanner gets cleaned between patients declines. Unless a manager holds the staff accountable by some measurable process implemented, and records the actions of the staff between patients, your MRI exam area is most likely not getting cleaned.
5) Get an MRI Image Quality Tune-up.
One of the most important ways on how to Extend the life of your MRI scanner, is by engaging us to evaluate and optimize your image quality on an on-going basis.
Reasons your image quality has degraded:
You passed the ACR, so now it’s “just do the cases”,
New inexperienced techs,
Older experienced techs,
Increased patient volume,
Reduced Service hours with increased volume,
Anything not mentioned above that you know about.
MRI Optimize Consultants has three different levels of full service offerings after the MRI Image TuneUp.
The MRI Image TuneUp which will help make your MRI scanner produce more efficiently getting most out of the software configurations you currently have.
A) We can come to your site, coach your staff, test the sequences with test cases, and over a specific time frame, increase the image quality on the top ten, twenty or thirty of your most popularly ordered exams.
B) You can sign up for Radiup, our online image quality review service.
We have multiple services available that can help your staff improve the quality of your outgoing work.
CONTACT US HERE for more information about how you can make your MRI scans better!