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ASRT white paper outlines MR best practices for technologists

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Recommended best practices for magnetic resonance facility safety zones, device safety checks and personnel screening are just a few of the topics highlighted in the Radiologic Technologist Best Practices for MR Safety white paper from the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. Developed specifically for MR technologists, the white paper features a variety of best practice safety recommendations. Examples include underscoring the need for MR-trained personnel to monitor all individuals working in established safety zones, documenting all safety screenings in a permanent record and making sure patients are dressed in facility-provided attire to ensure no metal objects are on or in clothing material entering the magnetic field.

To identify current MR safety measures and protocols, ASRT surveyed more than 2,600 MR technologists in August 2017. In addition, an MR Safety Best Practices Committee reviewed established safety guidelines from medical imaging organizations and facility-based safety programs. Made up of eight veteran MR technologists, the committee reviewed the survey data and existing guidelines to develop the best practices outlined in the paper.

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Spearheaded by ASRT Chairman of the Board Amanda Garlock, M.S., R.T.(R)(MR), who made it one of her initiatives for her 2017-2018 ASRT presidential term, the white paper outlines specific safety protocols for MR technologists. The American College of Radiology and The Joint Commission have existing MR safety guidelines, yet they serve a broad audience, including supervisors, physicians, physicists and hospital safety officers. As a result, Garlock and the committee focused on developing best practice recommendations for technologists who manage and perform MR procedures. "Our goal was to create a set of targeted guidelines for MR technologists that they can use to solve problems, make informed decisions and ultimately enhance patient care," said Garlock.

In addition, improving MR safety benefits the entire health care community, including patients, technologists and other health care providers who might work within the MR environment. "Despite its overall safety and effectiveness, MR scanning poses potentially serious risks if the procedures aren't performed by highly trained and educated registered radiologic technologists who understand how to protect everyone involved," added Garlock.

The white paper is timely as MR use has skyrocketed in the past three decades. According to the white paper, MR scans are being used more in emergency departments for head and neck injuries, with a 1,475 percent increase from 1994 to 2015. MR is a rapidly growing practice area with more than 37,000 technologists currently holding the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists MRI certification, according to the ARRT census.

The white paper is available at no charge for all personnel and facilities.

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