Lack of strategies to manage MRI wait lists a key reason for excessive wait times

March 5, 2009,

A new study headed by Dr. Tom Feasby, Dean of UCalgary's Faculty of Medicine, shows that while Canada lags behind other countries in the number of diagnostic imaging devices, more machines are not the only solution to long wait times. The study's authors say it is critical to prioritize MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) requests effectively.

"This study shows there are important deficiencies in the current system. We hope this research will help health system decision-makers and managers improve the provision of this important service," says Feasby, the senior author of "Management of MRI Wait Lists in Canada," published in Healthcare Policy.

A MRI provides detailed images of the body, and is technology that is being used more frequently, especially in the areas of abdominal, pelvic, cardiac and breast imaging. The technology can be used to evaluate tumours, show abnormalities in the heart, brain and joints.

To determine how requests for MRI studies are managed the study's authors surveyed public MRI facilities in Canada. Although almost all of the facilities have some methods to triage MRI requests, less than half documented their guidelines for prioritization, and none used quality assurance methods to ensure guidelines were followed. The report determined that despite wait times of up to several years in some facilities, strategies to reduce wait times are diverse, uncoordinated and largely ineffective.

Dr. Derek Emery, one of the report's authors, says, "most MRI facilities in Canada have a substantial wait list problem. Improvement in wait list management will be necessary for better access, fairness and quality in the provision of MRI services in Canada. We do not currently know the extent of inappropriate overuse of MRI, nor do we know the extent of inappropriate underuse." Emery is an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Alberta.

"This paper shows that many MRI centres do not employ effective and standardized processes to track and manage the appropriateness of the scans they perform. Such processes are crucial to ensure that patients in different regions of Canada have equitable access to MRIs, and that patients who really do need an MRI get one rapidly. This is a challenging problem, and needs the focused attention not only of radiologists, but particularly the physicians who are ordering the scans," says Dr. Andreas Laupacis, a general internist, the Executive Director of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Health Policy Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto

Source: University of Calgary

Explore further: Inside the global race to deliver a vital radioactive isotope used to detect cancer

Related Stories

Inside the global race to deliver a vital radioactive isotope used to detect cancer

January 19, 2018
In a cornfield here, past the shuttered General Motors plant and the Janesville Terrace trailer home park, a facility not seen in the United States in three decades could soon rise: a manufacturing plant that will make a ...

California starts recreational pot sales, clients jam stores

January 2, 2018
From a pot shop in Santa Cruz that hung a banner proclaiming "Prohibition is Over!" to one in San Diego handing out T-shirts showing the first moon landing and declaring a "giant leap for mankind," the Golden State turned ...

Plat du jour: Cultured plant cells kitchen-grown

November 5, 2017
(Tech Xplore)—A Big Idea to chew on: What if we could shake up the relationships between food production and food consumption in such a way that may benefit more people? Research in Finland offers tantalizing signs that ...

Combating eye injuries with a reversible superglue seal

December 6, 2017
When a soldier sustains a traumatic eye injury on the battlefield, any delay in treatment may lead to permanent vision loss. With medical facilities potentially far away and no existing tools to prevent deterioration, medics ...

GP online consultations: Not the panacea policy makers are hoping for

November 22, 2017
Online GP consultation systems may not be the silver bullet for reducing GP workload and patient waiting times that government policymakers are hoping for, NIHR-funded research from the University of Bristol has found. These ...

If we can beat Ebola, why not sleeping sickness too?

November 7, 2017
The man sits on the edge of the bed, feet touching the floor but incapable of supporting his weight. He doesn't speak and his eyes stare vacantly ahead, despite the eight or ten people who have crowded in to see him. His ...

Recommended for you

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.