While they released a Sentinel Event Alert on MRI safety in 2008, and while they’ve interpreted MRI-specific applications of a couple of hospital-wide standards (mainly, non-magnetic portable fire extinguishers), it was this past December (2013) when they announced their first explicit MRI Safety Standards, which become effective in July of 2014.
There are a few highly-specific criteria that don’t leave much to interpretation (collect data on your failed screenings in which a ferromagnetic object was allowed to enter the MRI scanner room), and there are more somewhat ambiguously-worded standards (manage MRI safety risks). Any facility that has undergone more than one Joint Commission survey knows that there is often different emphasis from one survey to the next, even if the standards haven’t changed. What follows is my own, personal, compliance checklist of the new MRI standards. While not reviewed / approved / sanctioned / blessed by the Joint Commission, I would contend that anyone who can check all of these boxes should sail through any survey that uses the new MRI safety standards… Continue reading →
Every New Year holds great promise… this one perhaps more than most.
First, I want to share with you that my direct employment with Mednovus has ended. The relationship with the founders and principals of the company is as strong as ever, and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude for allowing me to do so much ‘extracurricular’ work to further MRI safety. I will continue to work with them on a consulting basis, indefinitely. Which is a great segue into my new venture… Continue reading →
Ironically, those two words – so similar on the surface – often turn out to be antonyms. Today I’m going to attempt to provide you with some transparency relative to a recent disappearance here on this site.
I’m not big on New Years’ resolutions. In fact, I’ve previously resolved to not resolve… but today I’m breaking that vow (or would that be a ‘disavow’?). This year there are just too many things precariously poised — that could fall our way or not — that I can’t help but to resolve to rededicate myself to making substantive changes to industry standards and practices for MR safety, and here’s how I’m going to do it…
I hope my 2011 nPSG on MRI safety doesn’t cause any confusion with the Joint Commission’s new NPSG (National Patient Safety Goals). The fact is that this is distinct… it only uses the Joint Commission’s own wording to craft a patient safety goal specific to MRI in an effort to break through the paper-thin fallacy of ‘supporting MRI safety’ without providing (a) specific standards, (b) comparable scrutiny based on TJC published best-practices, (c) enforcement of requisite risk-management standards as they would apply to MRI, or (d) specific expert training on MRI safety issues for their on-site surveyor corps.
This past weekend I was invited to present the findings of a study I did with my friend and colleague, Emanuel Kanal. Among his many accolades and credentials, Manny Kanal is the Chair of the ACR MR Safety Committee, a fellow of the ACR and ISMRM, and a neuroradiologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The study had a two-part mission, first to review and categorize 18 months of the FDA’s MRI accident data, and second to compare each of these adverse events against existing best-practice standards for MRI safety. The results of the analysis were both stunning, and disheartening…
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.
Alright, I don’t love the fact of being wrong, but my mission is to motivate improvements in MRI safety for patients, staff, and providers. I’m not the least bit interested in having the longest list of ‘I told you so’ moments, and I’m uncomfortable when someone applies the term ‘guru’ to me. I am openly, vocally, critical of organizations when I feel that they haven’t lived up to their obligation to reinforce MRI safety standards, so when one of them does well, I can’t tell you how happy I am to eat my prior words, and today is an example of that…
A few weeks ago the announcements came down, CMS had ‘deemed’ three organizations to accredit the new classification of Advanced Imaging in order to be eligible for Medicare & Medicaid reimbursement: the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Intersocietal Commission, and the Joint Commission (TJC).
The other two have had modality-specific accreditation programs for years, so what was the TJC going to do? Well, they’ve released their accreditation criteria, and one of the most wonderful surprises is that MRI safety is more prominent than it is in either of the other two ‘imaging’ accrediting bodies!
And what’s even more alarming is that 20% of those implant patients that get MRIs experience some sort of device malfunction afterward! And yet, the dangers of imaging these patients are not well known by the doctors who prescribe these imaging studies.