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MR shielding: don’t cut corners

por Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | September 16, 2015
Carly Holloway
From the September 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

With MR scanners costing six and sometimes seven figures, they’re one of the biggest investments a facility can make. In addition to the scanner itself, there are also the associated expenses, from the cost of the install, to the service contract, to investment in staff training and more. But when it comes to spending that kind of money, it’s understandable that there’s a temptation to cap costs by looking for line items that might be tweaked.

HealthCare Business News spoke with professionals who have decades of MR service, installation and deinstallation experience between them to get an idea of the dos and don’ts when it comes to scrutinizing and reacting to an MR budget. In this case, however, we asked them to share their knowledge and insight regarding something most MR users never see — shielding. The irony is that although you don’t see it, a good RF shielding install with quality material will also mean you won’t see a degradation of your MR images.

Our group was presented with a list of questions and they offered advice for installs of RF and magnetic shielding, reuse of existing shielding and more. Read on to learn why it doesn’t pay to cut corners.

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HCBN: What is the best way to insure a high rate of return for your investment in a new MR?
Carly Holloway and Onofrio Losito, ISTRA Corporation:
Certainly generating clear images every day without having any downtime due to artifacts. Surrounding your new MR with the highest quality of radio frequency shielding will prevent such downtime. When choosing an RF shielding company, a customer needs to take into account all that a company can and should provide for them. A shielding company is not just providing a product, whether it is copper, aluminum, or galvanized steel, but also their expertise in the field.

Onofrio Losito

Upfront costs can blur decision-making and cause us to be very present-minded and only focused on the near future. Oftentimes, when new MR rooms are being constructed, it appears that choosing a company that provides cheaper RF shielding is a viable solution. Judging a company solely based on price can often lead to more problems down the road. Will choosing a product that costs less today save you money in the future? Chances are, if it is an inferior product the answer would be no. Decision makers need to think about the opportunity cost of a day, maybe a week, of their MRI not scanning because of artifacts that can occur due to poor RF shielding.

Mike Profeta

Mike Profeta, Magnetic Resonance Technologies, Incorporated: Buying the most expensive does not guarantee the best product. I have always believed in building the best MRI shield possible, with special attention devoted to every detail to ensure it will never fail.

Dave Geiger

HCBN: If you buy a new shield, do you buy it from a major manufacturer or a boutique manufacturer/installer?
Dave Geiger, ETS Lindgren:
That choice should be driven by the capacity of the vendor to support your needs today and in the future, as well as your comfort level with their quality of work and ability to deliver on time.

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