Improving MRI Workflow Can Shorten Patient Stays, Study Shows
Leesburg, VA, October 11, 2017—Almost one-third of the total patient stay length and MRI utilization is composed of “non-value-added time” that can be shortened by identifying the source of inefficiency and implementing change, according to an article in the October 2017 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).
Identifying specific delays may expedite the application of targeted improvement strategies, potentially increasing revenue, efficiency, and overall patient satisfaction, said the authors, led by Kevin Beker of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
The study analyzed ways to optimize MRI logistics through evaluation of MRI workflow and analysis of performance, efficiency, and patient throughput in a tertiary care academic center. For 2 weeks, workflow data from two outpatient MRI scanners were prospectively collected and stratified by value added to the process (i.e., value-added time, business value-added time, or non–value-added time). A total of 305 MRI examinations were evaluated, including body, neurologic, musculoskeletal, and breast examinations.
The MRI process cycle lasted a mean of 50.97 ± 24.4 (SD) minutes per examination; the mean non–value-added time was 13.21 ± 18.77 minutes (25.87% of the total process cycle time). The mean length-of-stay cycle was 83.51 ± 33.63 minutes; the mean non–value-added time was 24.33 ± 24.84 minutes (29.14% of the total patient stay). The delay with the highest frequency (5.57%) was IV or port placement, which had a mean delay of 22.82 minutes. The delay with the greatest impact on time was MRI arthrography for which joint injection of contrast medium was necessary but was not accounted for in the schedule (mean delay, 42.2 minutes; frequency, 1.64%). Of 305 patients, 34 (11.15%) did not arrive at or before their scheduled time.
According to the study authors, the results provides evidence of how systematic implementation of process analysis can significantly aid in streamlining patient throughput and imaging volume.
“Our findings suggest that almost one-third of the total patient stay length and MRI utilization is composed of non-value-added time that can be shortened by identifying the source of inefficiency and implementing change,” the authors said. “Ongoing continuous improvement, if applied systematically, can potentially cut costs and increase efficiency and patient satisfaction.”
Founded in 1900, ARRS is the first and oldest radiology society in the United States, and is an international forum for progress in radiology. The Society's mission is to improve health through a community committed to advancing knowledge and skills in radiology. ARRS achieves its mission through an annual scientific and educational meeting, publication of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) and InPractice magazine, topical symposia and webinars, and print and online educational materials. ARRS is located in Leesburg, VA.