Democratizing MRI To Improve Health Equality

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Image source: Zipe-Education

 

Siemens Healthineers’ magnetic resonance specialist highlights the actions that need to be made to broaden access to the imaging technology.

 

Improved access to magnetic resonance imaging is critical to increasing health equality, according to Siemens Healthineers, a global health IT provider. MRI is substantially more costly than other imaging technologies and is not commonly accessible in many regions. It is used to diagnose various diseases ranging from heart disease to cancer. Siemens Healthineers claims it is focusing on boosting MRI availability for these reasons: 

 

In rural and urban locations, they partner with community clinics and health institutions to bring MRI closer to the folks who need it the most. It creates more inexpensive devices for smaller community hospitals or health facilities that serve underprivileged communities. MRI has established itself as one of the most powerful diagnostic techniques. It is extensively used to assess the existence or absence of a disease or condition and the degree to which it exists.

Some nations do not have even one MRI scanner. Some Americans reside in towns where the closest MRI is more than 100 miles distant. Others are concerned about the cost of an MRI. Others may be too huge to be examined with standard narrow-bored MRI equipment.

 

Siemens Healthineers is dedicated to creating MR systems that improve the capabilities and efficiency of MRI and reduce the barrier to ownership and operation for healthcare providers and communities that previously had the financial means to do so.

 

Several hospitals and health systems extend their community outreach by opening community clinics, ambulatory surgical centers, and other outpatient care sites. This form of outreach strengthens their neighborhood presence and promises to improve patient compliance and wellness care. In the case of MRI, delivering outpatient diagnostic imaging services in the community provides patients with a helpful convenience by minimizing the amount of time required in their schedule and simplifying the whole procedure. Furthermore, it decreases the hospital’s outpatient imaging workload, enabling them to devote more resources to delivering diagnostic services to more severely sick inpatients. The COVID-19 epidemic has only fueled hospitals’ and patients’ need for outpatient MRI outside of hospitals.

Image Source: Zipe-Education 

Many smaller facilities may not have the same volumes as more significant facilities or may be located in less wealthy areas where payment/reimbursement-per-scan makes it difficult for them to be profitable or even break when compared to other systems with more significant total costs ownership.

Many of these smaller community hospitals are currently using mobile MRI services to supplement their services on specific days of the week. While this isn’t ideal for giving the most rapid and easy imaging diagnostic, it’s the best these institutions can do for their communities right now.

The cost of owning and running an MRI scanner has become more reasonable with the introduction of MRI systems with a reduced total cost of ownership — construction costs + product prices “+” operational expenses. Geographic (too far away), financial (too pricey), physical (patient too large), and mental (claustrophobia) barriers may limit MRI availability. To circumvent all of these constraints may be difficult.

Also, the new scanner reduces the total cost of ownership by reducing the time spent on system setup and maintenance. The superconductive magnetic field was also maintained by shrinking the scanner and eliminating the need for sizeable liquid helium volumes.

The system uses modern hardware (magnet, gradient, coil) and software (quick acquisition, AI-based reconstruction, workflow guidance) to give high-quality diagnostic findings and assure equality in treatment.

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