Radiologists have developed a remote-control mechanism that allows an experienced off-site operator to control an MRI machine by logging onto the Internet from a personal computer. The quality of the images from remote-control scanning was found to be superior to images obtained by a less-experienced technologist onsite.
After accessing the password-protected program online, a remote operator can control all of the necessary imaging parameters to conduct the exam, while a technologist onsite can give the patient instructions, monitor patient safety and administer intravenous contrast material. This means that specialized skills in MRI can now be implemented wherever they are needed, even if the necessary expertise is not available at the site where the MRI machine is located.
In the study, 30 adult and pediatric patients underwent traditional MRI with the technologist onsite, and 30 other patients were scanned by a remote operator. Overall, 90 percent of remote scans were rated "excellent," versus 60 percent of scans performed with the operator onsite.
The study was conducted at the University of California-Los Angeles.