Mobile MRI devices could help fix backlog of delayed MRI procedures

Over the last year, healthcare networks largely focused their resources on devices that could be used to diagnose, treat, or otherwise combat COVID-19. MRI scans were not found to be helpful in diagnosing the disease or its aftereffects, and so were largely left off the COVID-19 treatment pathway. This has resulted in delays which has led to a significant increase in the waitlists for these procedures in many countries. Novel solutions, such as mobile MRI devices, will need to be implemented quickly to maintain the current standard of care and ensure potential health complications are spotted as early as possible, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

In the EU, healthcare networks spent roughly $1.1bn on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines in 2020, which represented a decline of over 12% compared to 2019. Additionally, many MRI scans were delayed when elective procedures were delayed, resulting in a significant decline in sales in 2020.

Dominic Tong, Senior Medical Devices Analyst at GlobalData comments: “The UK’s NHS recently announced a number of new initiatives aimed at reducing the procedures backlog across a variety of therapy areas. Along with a proposed increase in tests performed per visit, they will also be allotting extra budget towards purchasing mobile MRI machines. These are trailers which contain all the necessary equipment to perform MRI scans, and can be driven from one area to another as needed.

“Mobile MRI scanners come with a number of benefits. The most obvious is that it allows MRI machines to be moved to where they are most needed, ideally reducing the backlog efficiently. They could also allow multiple hospitals to share the cost of a single machine, moving it between them as needed without any single hospital committing to a large capital expenditure. Post-pandemic, mobile diagnostic imaging suites and other mobile healthcare facilities can be brought to areas that typically struggle to receive medical attention, ensuring the most vulnerable populations have access to healthcare.”

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