Remote-Control for MRI-Machine

Photo: An old MRI machine

"Some patients require specialized scans that not all of our technologists are familiar with, so we implemented a software program that enables us to run the MRI machine from a remote location," said J. Paul Finn, M.D., lead author and chief of diagnostic cardiovascular imaging at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles. “A technologist who is skilled at performing that particular scan can log on from a personal computer and perform the exam via remote control."

After accessing the password-protected program online, a remote operator can control all of the necessary imaging parameters to conduct the exam, while a technologist onsite can give the patient instructions, monitor patient safety and administer any intravenous contrast material that might be needed. This means that specialized skills in MRI can now be implemented wherever they are needed, even if the necessary expertise is not available at the site where the MRI machine is located.

The software program was tested by performing some of the most demanding scans needed at the hospital. In the study, 30 adult and pediatric patients underwent traditional MRI with the technologist onsite, and an additional 30 patients were scanned by a remote operator. Overall, 90 percent of remote scans were rated as "excellent," versus 60 percent of scans performed with the operator onsite. Dr. Finn added that because the types of diagnostic scans they have studied are among the most complex currently undertaken, it seems reasonable to suggest that the results can be generalized to other types of studies.

Dr. Finn emphasizes that the same technology can also be applied to computer tomography - especially for use in an emergency setting, such as a natural disaster or on the battlefield.; Source: Radiological Society of North America