No fuss MRI upgrade – little downtime, no delivery
October 19, 2022
LONDON, Ont. – To ensure continued, world-class care for patients, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is upgrading its two MRI machines without having to replace the core magnet. In a creative solution, the upgrade is being achieved without the need to replace the core magnet component, avoiding a time consuming and complex process of switching out the machines, and months of downtime. One upgrade has been completed and the second one is scheduled for November 2022.
At St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, both MRI machines were aging, having been installed 10 years ago, noted Howard Hansford, site leader, Medical Imaging Program.
It was hoped that MRI replacement would coincide with a plan to move MRI imaging from Level 5 of the hospital to Level 0, in the vicinity of the Francis and Madeleine Saul Medical Imaging Centre – the main hub of imaging at St. Joseph’s. But this project has been delayed and is now not expected to be completed until 2027. At the same time, the existing infrastructure on Level 5 cannot support replacing the current MRI with a more advanced unit.
“A solution was needed to keep technology up to date yet didn’t impact the infrastructure on Level 5,” said Hansford.
Working collaboratively with Siemens Healthineers, a solution was found. The MAGNETOM Sola Fit from Siemens Healthineers allows for a full upgrade of all MRI sub-systems such as computer, radiofrequency coils, the imaging chain and patient table, yet leaves the core magnet in place, resulting in a state-of-the-art MRI system providing the latest technology available.
The refit was accomplished in four weeks while a full replacement of the unit – which requires a crane lift through the roof on Level 5 – would likely take three months for each machine. Cost is also significantly reduced with the upgrade about 60 per cent of the cost of a new unit.
“Most important, at a time of significant patient backlogs due to the pandemic, downtime is minimized and patients served by St. Joseph’s continue to receive the latest and best in MRI imaging,” said Hansford.
With Sola Fit, the magnets are upgraded to a Sola 1.5 T platform, which significantly increases image quality and diagnostic abilities. The upgraded MRIs are also faster, which will result in seven per cent more patients scanned per year. This equates to 728 more patients served each year, 3,640 patients over five years, with no incremental costs.
“The BioMatrix technology that comes with this upgrade provides a more tailored scan of the patient by adjusting to patient bio variability,” explained Darren Scott, account manager, Siemens Healthineers. “This more adaptive approach to MRI examinations reduces unwarranted variations resulting in more standardization and consistent scanning results.”
Overall, the upgrade will assist St. Joseph’s imaging experts to obtain a more accurate diagnosis and guide specific therapy for better patient outcomes, said Scott.
St. Joseph’s continues to plan for the development of the new MRI space and the installation of a 3T magnet. The Sola Fit solution bridges the equipment replacement gap between today and development of this new space in 2027.