The unique challenges of keeping the MR environment clean

October 06, 2017
Infection Control MRI
From the October 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

It is estimated that there are over 10,000 MR devices in the U.S. and more being installed weekly due to demand for the accurate medical analysis they provide. Deborah Campbell, infection prevention improvement advisor to the Kentucky Hospital Association, stressed, “the technicians at each MR location are well-trained and carefully screen for potentially dangerous items. For that reason, they are commonly tasked with disinfecting the equipment itself.

Manufacturer instructions are thorough and also provide safety information as well as how to properly clean and disinfect the units.” Campbell noted, “ultimately, the hospital decides on the type of disinfectant needed to perform the cleaning work. Additionally, many facilities have special safety training for all staff that may enter the area and this typically includes a select number of EVS staff that performs floor care and cleaning of other common non-patient-care items in the room such as desk surfaces.”

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The imaging equipment is also changing to allow for more advanced medical analysis of musculoskeletal conditions. Equipment manufacturers, along with doctors and researchers, are modifying MR equipment to simulate stress-loading for spine imaging. The purpose is to create situations mimicking actual pressures on the body to better understand simulated usage and provide doctors with possible solutions, all with the goal of better patient outcomes. Additionally, MRs are also being redesigned to allow for greater flexibility in patient positioning. The advantage of expanding the range of positioning is that it greatly increases the diagnostic usage of the instrument. Typical MR bores are extremely limiting and can cause claustrophobia in some patients and limit the size of the patient that can comfortably be examined, as well as limit the diagnosis.

Thom Wellington
Unfortunately, as Americans grow older and experience the wear and tear on their bodies, the need for musculoskeletal information has significantly increased. The value of MR scans continues to increase as new advances are made in the design of the equipment. The steady constant is the danger the magnetic force creates in the exam room. Staff must be constantly vigilant, and continual training is necessary beyond simple onboarding. MR equipment must be cleaned and disinfected to provide an infection solution barrier for patients, no matter who is tasked with the duty.

About the author: Thom Wellington is the CEO and a stockholder in Infection Control University.

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