Medically Imaging The Body With Magnetics And Radiofrequency Waves With An Mri

1257 words - 6 pages

Introduction
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a way of medically imaging the body with the use of a magnetic field and radiofrequency waves. (1) As image quality of MRI continues to improve, more MRI exams are being ordered. Increasing MRI exams leads to increased wait times. Due to current wait lists, the health status of patients may decrease, influencing the type of treatment the patient will require once removed from the wait list. (7) The advances in technology have increased in the past decade, with MRI procedures are vastly growing to provide superior diagnostic quality compared to other modalities. New technologies are also allowing for faster scan times and further increased image quality. (9)
Wait Times: What and Why
The use of diagnostic imaging has increased due to new advances in technology. With these advances, there has been close to a 170% increase in the number of MRI exams within British Columbia, since 2001. Interior Health alone has seen a 198% increase in MRI exams between 2003 and 2012. (2) MRI has the longest wait time compared to CT and Ultrasound exams. (6)

Canada has six MRI scanners per one million people, the lowest rate per capita compared to other developed countries in the world. (3,4) Canada also has the largest waiting times for health care compared to most of these developed countries. (7)

The health care system cannot treat all patients who require health care services, allowing wait times to grow. (5) Patients may have to wait more than once to receive treatment and/or diagnosis. Patients must wait to receive a referral from their family doctor to a specialist and again to receive treatment or diagnosis following an appointment with a specialist. (6,7) For all health services combined, wait times from family doctor to specialist have increased on average from 8.5 weeks to 8.6 weeks from 2012 to 2013, and specialist to treatment wait times have increased on average from 9.3 weeks to 9.6 weeks from 2012 to 2013, across Canada. (6,7) In 2013, it was found patients waited a total of 18.2 weeks, on average, to receive treatment. (6)

Although wait times for MRI have decreased across Canada, from 2012 to 2013, by an average of 8.4 weeks to 8.3 weeks, BC patients are waiting the longest, at 16 weeks, for an MRI scan compared to the rest of Canada. (6) Physicians believe Canadian patients are waiting 3 weeks longer to receive treatment following a specialist appointment than what is considered clinically acceptable. (6)

Delays could also be due to further investigation or treatments that may be required prior to a specialist referral or specific health care services. (7) Wait times can be increased due to patient needs outside of the health care system. Only 11.1% of patients on the overall health care waiting lists are due to patient requests for delay of postponing of treatment. (6)
How to Decrease MRI Wait Times
Wait times can be decreased for MRI by increasing the provincial...

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