Unlike most of my posts, this one does not offer a position, much less a ‘call to action.’ Instead, I pose a question. You can read it as rhetorical, and allow me to stew in my own juices, or offer your thoughts. The essence of my question is what obligation do I have when I see horrible MRI suite design?
Yes, I’ve not kept up with my blog postings as I usually do. I’d like to tell you that it was because I’ve been spending the last month or so sipping umbrella-drinks on a sunny beach somewhere, but that’s about the furthest thing from the truth. The fact is that there have been torrents of activity, but they’re all happening below the glassy surface. For example, the radiology press has been strangely silent about the most recent MRI fatality…
In stark contrast to the speed with which we expect to see medical technology advance, the more bureaucratic process of regulatory or accreditation tends to be more deliberative and… oh heck, I’ll just say it… glacial in its pace to keep up. Every once in a while, however, these efforts ‘sling-shot’ forward.
Much to my surprise (and delight), this is happening with the new Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities (or Guidelines, for short). Though the 2010 edition of Guidelines has only been published for about a month (and the publisher has been struggling to catch up on back-ordered copies), two states have already adopted the 2010 edition as their requirements for licensure.
“Tweet, tweet” is usually all I hear from little birdies… but one little bird that flew past my office recently had a surprisingly large vocabulary and told me of new requirements that will be introduced in the forthcoming 2010 update to the ‘Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities’ (commonly referred to as ‘Guidelines’).
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Guidelines, they are the design requirements that are cited by the Joint Commission and, at last count, 42 of the 50 U.S. State Departments of Health. Technically, they aren’t a building code, but the function in almost the exact same way. For the first time, the Guidelines are going to have specific MRI suite design requirements for patient safety.
The new ASHE publication, Designing and Engineering MRI Safety, has now been made available for purchase from the American Society for Healthcare Engineering’s website.
The last time the United States Veterans Administration issued an update to their MRI Design Guide was 1996, which seems to be about 50 years in the MRI world. Just this past week, however, they made up for lost time and did so in a big way!
The new VA MRI Design Guide takes a quantum leap in addressing new technologies, new clinical practices and new tools and tactics for enhancing the safety of patients and staff. One of these new strategies includes the use of ferromagnetic detection systems for MRI patient screening.
The new Design Guide is fully downloadable in PDF form in four individual sections from the VA’s website:
Or, you can download the complete document, rolled into one PDF, from the Mednovus website:
The VA joins a growing list of professional bodies, accrediting agencies and organizations recommending the use of ferromagnetic detection for patient screening.
In a forthcoming entry I’ll feature quotes from and links to these various standards calling for the use of ferromagnetic detection to enhance MRI patient screening.
Regards,Tobias Gilk, President & MRI Safety Director Mednovus, Inc. Tobias.Gilk@Mednovus.com www.MEDNOVUS.com