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Advanced Communication Training for MRI Technologists Improves Patient Satisfaction


Magnetic resonance imaging department efficiency increases when MRI technologists undergo advanced communication training.

Magnetic resonance imaging technologists benefit from advanced communication techniques, resulting in more favorable operational efficiency, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Researchers from Ohio, California, and Massachusetts sought to assess the effects of team training on operational efficiency during outpatient MRI. Six MRI outpatient sites of a Midwestern hospital system were randomized to either serve as controls or have their teams trained in advanced communication skills. The training helped technologists improve how they communicated with patients, allowing them to feel more comfortable during the imaging process. The fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015 was the trial baseline.  When the trial, which encompassed 27,425 MRI examinations, ended in the third quarter (Q3) of fiscal year 2016, the researchers analyzed equipment utilization (completed scans/available slots), hourly scan rates (total orders completed per machine per hour of operation), and no-show rates. The results showed overall volume peaked at baseline and, then, declined over the following quarters. Compared with baseline, untrained sites experienced significant drops in equipment utilization, decreasing from 77 percent to 65 percent over the study period, corresponding to a decrease from 1.15 to 0.97 in hourly scan rates.  For trained sites, these metrics showed no significant change, with maintenance of hourly scan rates of 1.23 and 1.27 and equipment utilization rates of 83 percent and 85 percent between baseline and Q3. No-show rates remained stable at trained sites but increased at untrained sites in the last two quarters. Nationally benchmarked patient satisfaction percentile ranking gradually increased at trained sites from 56th at baseline to 70th and successively decreased at untrained sites from 66th to 44th. The researchers concluded facilities with MRI technicians who have been trained in advanced communication techniques may experience more favorable operational efficiency than untrained sites in a saturated market. 

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