Model for Process Time Analysis in Magnetic Resonance Imaging : Workflow Optimization to Reduce Access Time

University essay from KTH/Medicinteknik och hälsosystem

Abstract: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can be used in many clinical situations, but they are limited by high costs and time-consuming properties. Most focus has been on improving the technical side of MRI, and not as much on process improvements. Long access times to MRI examinations can be the cause of inefficient workflows of the departments, which can cause adverse effects for the patients. A market research of the Swedish radiology departments that perform MRI examinations resulted in a wide range of median access times, ranging from approximately 21 days to 130 days. This indicates potential for improvement in their workflows. To improve workflows, they need to be analysed and measured. A model for process time efficiency analysis in MRI departments was created in this project which can assess 5 different metrics. These metrics are number of examinations, examination time, turnover time, scanner utility, and scheduling consistency. Potential improvement strategies to reduce the access times associated with the metrics in the model is discussed. Examination time is mostly affected by the technique and the examination protocol but making the change to an abbreviated version of the protocol has the potential to significantly reduce examination time. This is especially useful for screening purposes. Reduction in turnover time can be achieved by analysing the process in between examinations and making suitable changes in preparation of patients and examinations, and in architecture for a more streamlined throughput. The scheduling process has a large impact on efficiency and reduction in access times and increasing utility rate. It is important for the scheduling process to be flexible to increase efficiency. As a result of this report, the conclusion is that a benchmarking project could be conducted on Swedish radiology departments to determine best practices in workflows.

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