MRI Enhancement

  • Date Submitted: Feb 15, 2024
  • Category: Impact Story

This past year, generous contributions from Annual Giving totaling $780,000 enabled St. John’s Health to transform the care delivered through its Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Most notably hardware upgrades have increased signal and image quality and improved patient comfort. On the software side, the installation of the Siemen’s High-performance host computer and reconstruction system improves three key functions. This addition speeds up image acquisition without sacrificing image quality; it generates a high-resolution image from low resolution thus increasing smaller detection of abnormalities and decreasing scan time; and it slashes the long acquisition times associated with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to enable dramatically shortened scans.

All of this enables the new imaging techniques to acquire more accurate data in less time. The radiology department is now beginning to strategically reduce scheduled exam times and decrease the number of block times held for emergencies to decrease patient wait times and increase patient offerings.

Historically, St. John’s Health employed the MRI for relatively routine outpatient examinations; however, the increase in cancer and other chronic conditions in our community has driven a need for more sophisticated imaging. It is estimated that the utilization of MRI for all conditions could grow 3-5% in the next 7 years. With the above enhancements, we have been able to improve and expand the imaging services available to our community and to decrease scan times by 25 to 50 percent.

This new hardware and software has doubled the lifespan of our MRI at a fraction of the cost of new MRI installation. A new MRI with associated suite of software would have cost St. John’s Health up to $5 million. That makes St. John’s Health Foundation’s contribution to the existing MRI an excellent investment in our hospital’s radiology services and in the health of our community.