Tag Archives: Environment of Care

2010 ‘Guidelines’ Healthcare Building Code To Have MRI Safety Requirements

“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.

2010 Guidelines

2010 Guidelines

Click Here To Read About The Specific MRI Safety Design Requirements…

AHRA 09 – You’re Cordially Invited To 2½ Special Events

As if you needed a personal invitation from me, here it is nonetheless. Please join me (and a several thousand of your colleagues) at the American Hot Rod Association [ahem] American Healthcare Radiology Administrators annual meeting in August. And though it may not really be my place to invite you to the conference, I do want to extend to you a personal invitation to 2½ special events that will happen during that week.

Click Here To Learn About Your Special 2½ Invitations…

Anesthesiology Joins Call for MRI Safety

The March issue of Anesthesiology, the journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), contains a new Practice Advisory on the safety of anesthesia care in the MRI environment. This new call from the ASA for a heightened level of attention is concurrent with startling growth in the rates of reported MRI accidents. The $43,172 question… Will JCAHO answer?

As I see it, the new ASA MRI Practice Advisory does three things… Click to learn about the effects of the new ASA Advisory…

JCAHO, MRI Safety, and EC Standard Update Teleconference

Break out the can of alphabet soup, because here we go, off  into the far reaches of acronym land…

That’s right, the Joint Commission is offering a teleconference / webinar on the 2009 changes to the Environment of Care (EC) standard and what they mean to accredited MRI providers. Never heard of the EC standards before? Well, you’re not alone, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t apply to you. In just a couple weeks, however, you can get the low-down on the new requirements.

Click to get the specifics on JCAHO’s new stand on MRI safety…

JCAHO and MRI Safety… Are They Serious?

As you may be aware, the Joint Commission has historically offered nothing in the way of MRI-specific safety standards. MRI may be the only service at an accredited provider that had not even one specific JCAHO standard for patient safety. Yes, all of the broader patient safety standards apply to MRI as they do to the rest of the provider, but with so many unique risks, wouldn’t you think that they would have at least one MRI-specific safety standard?

Click to read more about Joint Commission, MRI safety, and the Environment of Care…

New Joint Commission Environment of Care (EC) Requirements

Starting in January of 2009, the drought of MRI safety regulation will begin to end.

It surprises many that the Joint Commission has no specific MRI safety accreditation standards. Surveys of accredited MRI providers have, over the past many years, focused largely on general safety standards, adapted for the MRI environment. Historically, a surveyor’s check for a non-magnetic portable fire extinguisher was the only MRI-specific safety check provided by the Joint Commission.

Despite the fact that many MRI-specific safety articles, recommendations, and, most recently, Sentinel Event #38 have been offered by the Joint Commission and its allied Joint Commission Resources educational arm, there have not previously been specific MRI safety standards for accreditation, and it is only through the new Environment of Care requirements that MRI safety will become an implicit standard for Joint Commission accredited facilities.

Starting this coming January 2009, inpatient and outpatient accredited facilities will need to abide by the new Risk Management provisions of the Joint Commission Environment of Care standard. The Standards Improvement Initiative will require facilities to prospectively define the physical hazards within the facility and develop specific responses to manage and mitigate those hazards.

The new standard specifically cites Sentinel Event Alerts as one external reference that must be considered in defining risks. For MRI, this automatically means Sentinel Event Alert #38. And since SEA #38 draws so heavily from the ACR Guidance Document for Safe MR Practices: 2007, it only follows that the ACR Guidance Document is the underlying industry standard document for defining MRI safety. Another external reference that specifically addresses MRI physical hazards which should be used as a basis for risk analysis is the VA MRI Design Guide.

What do Sentinel Event Alert #38, the ACR Guidance Document, and the VA MRI Design Guide all recommend? Well, lots of common elements, actually, but one of the key recommendations is for the use of ferromagnetic screening (click here to download a PDF document that outlines many of the recent recommendations for ferromagnetic detection).

While it is starting with the Joint Commission Environment of Care, my expectation is that MRI-specific patient safety requirements will spread to other accreditation requirements, building codes, and standards of practice. This will include not just recommendations, but requirements for the use of ferromagnetic detection for MRI pre-screening.

Over the next few months, all Joint Commission accredited MRI providers will need to review the standards of practice in the ACR Guidance Document for MR Safe Practices. Specific actions must be taken to identify, document, and respond to the unique hazards in the MR environment. One of those immediate actions should be planning for ferromagnetic detection at your MRI facility.

If you have any questions about the new MRI safety standards, the best-practice recommendations for ferromagnetic equipment siting, and incorporating these vital safety instruments in your MRI screening practices, I recommend that you heed the advice of the ACR Guidance Document, the VA MRI Design Guide, and other safety practice documents. If you still have questions about these standards, I invite you to contact me.

Tobias Gilk, President & MRI Safety Director
Mednovus, Inc.
Tobias.Gilk@Mednovus.com
www.MEDNOVUS.com