Those who know me know that I’m an upbeat person. Not the spring-out-of-be-fifteen-minutes-before-the-alarm-“so-happy-to-greet-the-morning” type of upbeat, but more of an indefatigable cautious-optimism. Yes, there are bad days… days when I’d just prefer to pull the covers over my head to wait to see if next week Thursday offers enough to coax me out of bed. But I’m of the firm belief that – on those days – you have to drag your sorry butt out of bed and put one foot in front of the other, if for no other reason than you might forget how if you skip a day. Someday, no matter how distant or unlikely, you will meet your goal.
This, in essence, is the entirety of point-of-care safety standards for MRI.
“Hey, you, MR technologist! Make sure you know what you’re supposed to know to keep people safe around MRI.“
Make no mistake, as someone who spent a decade in college (which included a Masters degree and about half of a 2nd Bachelors), I’m a huge fan of education. What I’m adamantly opposed to – when it comes to MRI safety – is education without any standards or benchmarks, which is precisely where we find ourselves today.
That’s right, the FDA has updated it’s MRI accident figures available online through the MAUDE database. We were alarmed and astonished when we thought that the rate of increases in MRI accidents was only 270% (from 2004 to 2008). Turns out that the FDA must have found additional accident reports that were in a stack of junk-mail, or got lost between the sofa cushions, which means that the rate if adverse events went up, significantly, in 2008 from the prior calculation.
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.