The Value of Point-of-Care MR Imaging: 5 Notes from UC Irvine Physicians

MR imaging widely follows up on CT exams, with demand for MRI capabilities only expected to grow. In response, more healthcare organizations are noticing the value of portable, point-of-care MRI.

During an April 27 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Hyperfine, physicians from UCI Medical Center in Orange, California, shared their experience with portable MR imaging. 

The panelists were: 

  • John Christian "Chris" Fox, MD, emergency physician and chair of the UCI School of Medicine's department of emergency medicine at UCI Health
  • Daniel Chow, MD, neuroradiologist and co-director of the center for artificial intelligence in diagnostic medicine, radiological sciences school of medicine, UCI Health

Five key takeaways: 

1. Portable MRIs can conserve resources, the panelists explained. "It [takes] a tremendous amount of valuable personnel resources," Dr. Chow said of the fixed conventional MRI. "Typically, what's involved is you have one to two transport technologists, an intensive care unit nurse, and a respiratory therapist." Bringing the MRI to the patient requires fewer steps and resources. 

2. Bedside MRIs allow access for critical patients. For patients who are too unstable to transport, portable MRIs enable care teams to meet the patient where they are. For example, Dr. Chow described how he used Hyperfine's Swoop™ Portable Imaging System on a COVID-19 patient with a stroke. "He was too unstable that neither CT nor MRI could accommodate him," he said. "This was a patient that we were able to bring the portable MRI and look at the extent of the injury, which led to prognostic data that aided the team's decision."   

3. The wide use of other point-of-care testing provides an easy pathway for introducing portable MRIs, Dr. Fox said. "Point of care testing has really become a large part of our ED culture. We're used to that. We get lots of point-of-care laboratory tests that help us right out front in triage." Thus, portable MRIs already fit into the ED workflow. 

4. Using bedside MRIs can increase the overall number of patients scanned. "On days that we use the Hyperfine magnet, we're actually scanning more patients on the fixed scanner as well," Dr. Chow said. When not used, UCI Medical Center typically scans about 32 patients, compared to 38 on days it is utilized. "We increase our throughput that way and decrease our length of stay," Dr. Fox said of his experience with Hyperfine's MRI in the ED. 

5. Highlighting the demands of standard MRIs can aid in getting administrative support for bedside imaging. "Start looking at turnaround times for MRI at your own institution and you get some of that data and you could show [administrators] the opportunity that this would provide," Dr. Fox suggested. Another approach focuses on the potential for portable MRI to improve patient outcomes by getting an answer quicker. 

To view the entire webinar, click here

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