• This report presents usage, cost and efficacy data from the MRI Assessment Program up to 31 December 1988 and continues the analysis given in previous publications in this series.
  • Analysis has been performed on data relating to 14,809 examinations relating to 13,354 patients examined by the MRI units at Royal North Shore (RNSH), Royal Melbourne (RMH), Royal Adelaide (RAH), Princess Alexandra (PAH) and Sir Charles Gairdner (SCGH) hospitals.
  • Throughputs for 12 months were 2991 (RNSH), 2441 (RMH), 2368 (RAH) and 1761 (PAH). Experience suggests that annual throughputs of 3300 (RNSH), 2600 (RMH), 2700 (RAH) and 1800 (PAH) might be achievable under the operating conditions then in place at each unit. A single shift operation is in place at PAH which accounts for the lower throughput of that unit.
  • The majority of MRI examinations were of the head (57%) and spine (27%). The average times per scan were 1.2 (RNSH), 1.3 (RMH), 1.1 (RAH) and 1.2 (PAH) hours. The majority (84%) of head examinations were completed in under one hour and the majority of spinal examinations (80%) were completed in under 75 minutes.
  • Comparisons were made between MRI and CT in 67% of head scans and 47% of spine scans. In most of these cases MRI was considered to be superior (68%) or equal (28%) to CT, with CT being considered superior in 4% of cases.
  • Average costs per scan were $607 (RNSH), $537 (RMH), $513 (RAH) and $623 (PAH), excluding interest and leasing charges. The major reasons for the variations were differences in staffing policies and patient throughput. There appear to be economic and patient service arguments for extending the hours of operation of MRI units.
  • Some more detailed studies at the various MRI units are also presented.