Top 8 tips for MR scanner use

Top 8 tips for MR scanner use

Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | October 12, 2016
MRI
From the October 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Purchasing an MR scanner is a major capital investment, and getting the most out of it means ensuring the system remains in top working order.

HealthCare Business News checked in with three experts in the field to find out how facilities can safeguard against unnecessary downtime and continue to have their MR provide safe and excellent scans.

1. Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure the longevity of your MR system, says Dan McGuan, director of national operators at Viable Med Service, Inc. Without proper maintenance, the first thing you’ll see is image quality degradation, then intermittent problems will arise, and finally your important gear will fail. “If you do not get regular tune-ups, oil changes, etc., your car will sputter down the road and eventually stop driving completely,” says McGuan. “This is a shame to see when we speak about an important piece of medical equipment.”

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2. Chiller and heat exchanger maintenance is also important, but it’s not always included by your MR service personnel. In most cases, it’s subcontracted to refrigeration or heating and air conditioning companies. “This simple piece of gear is often overlooked and can create catastrophic problems,” says McGuan. “If the chiller is not regularly flushed, maintained and working properly, it can cause the coldhead and cryogenic systems in your magnet to become contaminated or damaged.” It can be very expensive and time-consuming to replace the coldhead and it could even lead to magnet quenches.

3. It’s important to have clean air conditioning powered into your facility. If you don’t, then you can install line regulation locally. “This can be expensive up front, but will pay for itself in reduced downtime and reduced need to repair or replace major pieces of the system,” says Bruce Smith, owner of Medical Systems Technologies.

4. Smith also recommends making sure the air conditioner in the equipment room is cooling properly. You can do that by verifying if there is adequate air flow and air exchange, making sure the cooling towers or chillers are running and ensuring the water-cooled systems have the proper water flow.

5. Technology education and training is paramount for proper MR operation, says McGuan. He’s encountered poorly trained technologists who cause damage to the systems, break coils and modify protocols to parameters that will not generate optimal image quality. “It is a team effort for proper MRI operation. No one individual will give you the image quality and longevity that medical professionals require,” he said. “It requires the combined efforts of trained and experienced technologists, applications specialists, service personnel, cryogenic specialists, chiller specialists and clinical management to get the most from your MRI.”

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