E1590. Cross-Training Technologists in a Hospital MRI Department: An Effort to Improve Work Flow and Patient Care
  1. Kheng Lim; Penn Medicine
  2. Mary McMonagle; Penn Medicine
Before the start of this study, our MRI technologists had traditionally worked at specific MR scanners and did not rotate among the various scanners of different magnet strengths and manufacturers in our hospital. This workflow had allowed our technologists to specialize in their work. However, in an era of an increasingly competitive labor market resulting in staff shortages and ultimately impacting patient access and care, we decided that we would perform a pilot study to cross train our technologists to become familiar and competent in the operations of our various magnets in the hospital, the procedures that are common and unique to each magnet, and the capability of each magnet in scanning the various body parts.

Materials and Methods:
Pre-intervention: A questionnaire of ten multiple-choice questions was administered to all full-time MRI technologists who worked at a single hospital via Qualtrics (Seattle, WA). These questions were intended to be practical and should be known by a technologist who had performed multiple tasks on the various scanners. Intervention: Weekly rotations through the scanners with the hope that the technologist real-world exposure and peer-to-peer consultation over the course of 10 months would enhance the technologists’ knowledge and performance. Post-intervention: A similar questionnaire was sent out to the technologists ten months later. The questionnaire was not reviewed with the technologists before or after the intervention.

100% of full-time technologists participated before and after the intervention. The aggregate score before intervention was 55.6% and after the intervention, the aggregate score climbed to 77.8%. Using Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test, the score was statistically significant (p = 0.0156); 67% of the technologists showed significant improvement in their scores before and after the intervention (defined by having two or more questions answered correctly).

Our pilot study showed that on-the-job training can produce a significant improvement in one’s knowledge and performance. In an era of staff shortages, the expansion of technologist skills is greatly desired to ensure unimpeded patient access to imaging for diagnosis. The technologists embraced this workflow as evidenced by 100% participation in this study. The future direction of the study is to see if formal didactic and informal roundtable sessions can further enhance performance.