On May 10, 2016, the Department of Medical Imaging at Royal University Hospital (RUH) will be rolling out a new inpatient Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) requisition form. This form is intended to not only optimize the use of MRI equipment and improve patient flow, but also to promote quality work in terms of screening patients for MRIs, and ensuring their safety by incorporating a screening form into the requisition.

MRI at RUH

MRI at RUH

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a scanning procedure that uses strong magnets and radiofrequency pulses to generate signals from the body. The signals are then processed to create images of the inside of the body. Because of how it works to generate images, some objects inside the body could cause harm or be damaged during the test, including pacemakers, aneurysm clips, heart valve replacements, cochlear implants, magnetic dental implants or drug infusion pumps. And while some devices might be safe for an MRI, they still need to be identified for the test to proceed.

“We were seeing a lot of defects in the requisition forms being submitted for MRIs,” explained Al Lalonde, supervisor with Medical Imaging at Royal University Hospital. “A lot of times, the separate screening form wasn’t submitted with the requisition, which meant a lot of back-and-forth with the unit, which ultimately led to delays in service. Because of how the MRI works, screening is really important. We need to know that a patient has been checked for objects that could interfere with the MRI, so we can ensure that the images can be captured safely. Having the screening form submitted as part of the requisition form provides us with that information.”

It’s hoped that the new form will eliminate unnecessary phone calls between MRI and the nursing units, as well as reduce delays in processing for inpatient requisitions, streamline the process of ordering an inpatient MRI and ensure that ordering physicians receive results in a timely manner.

The scope of this new form has expanded from its early beginnings.

“We held an improvement event in 2014 and created a new form for a unit that incorporated both requisition and screening. Now we’re rolling out the form to all the inpatient units at RUH.”

Staff information sessions on the new forms have taken place, and information sheets have been developed and will be distributed to all nursing units at RUH so staff knows how to complete the new form.

It’s hoped that one day the use of the form will be expanded to other sites in the Region. For now, it’s at RUH only.