A preliminary ergonomic analysis of the MRI work system environment: Implications and recommendations for safety and design.Radiography (Lond) 2019; 25(4):339-345R
The MRI work system environment in acute hospitals poses a significant risk of harm to patients, healthcare practitioners and others, but knowledge of hazards and potential design improvements are limited as safety research is lacking. The aim of this exploratory study was to understand how the discipline of Human Factors and Ergonomics (HFE) can support the understanding and improvement of safety and performance of MRI working environments.
A multi-method study of two MRI units in Scottish acute hospital settings based on Human Factors and Ergonomics (HFE) principles was undertaken in May 2016. Data collection sources included published literature, local and national safety incident data, site observations and staff interviews which were triangulated and subject to a content analysis.
A diverse range of system-wide hazards were highlighted which impact on the complexity of MRI work, patient and staff safety and system performance (e.g. adequacy of training and procedures, interactions with equipment, organisation of work). Preliminary recommendations were made to improve system design related to national approaches to safety (e.g. equipment procurement; staff training and procedural standards); interaction design and standardisation (e.g. physical design and barriers, staff uniforms, checking processes); and introduction of MRI passports for patients.
This exploratory study suggests the need for national co-ordination and standardisation of MRI safety management strategies, based on safety science and HFE evidence and approaches to improve system design and reduce risk to patients, staff and others. A series of provisional recommendations are offered for consideration.