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Improving Access to MRI through Central Intake

March 16, 2020 – Lower Mainland Medical Imaging (LMMI) has added MRI shoulders to the MRI appropriateness checklist (ACL) as well as making some edits to the existing criteria based off of feedback received since launch. This form was developed and reviewed by the LMMI Central Intake Steering Committee and at feedback sessions with family physicians and specialists such as rheumatologists and orthopedic surgeons. The submission of the new ACL for shoulders will become mandatory once the various EMR providers have updated the form. Please see below for a copy of the new form and the full memo describing the launch of this updated checklist.

What is MRI central intake?

MRI central intake will provide referring clinicians with a central office to direct outpatient MRI referrals for 11 MRI sites across the lower mainland. This process will enable patients to be booked at the most appropriate lower mainland MRI site with the shortest wait time. Referring clinicians will be able to indicate a preferred MRI site on the requisition if desired. For urgent outpatient MRI referrals that require imaging in less than 72 hrs, please contact the relevant site's medical imaging department directly. 

An updated regional MRI requisition form has been developed to coincide with central intake.  An additional field on the requisition allows the referring clinician to state a preferred MRI site.

MRI Central intake will also feature a quality improvement initiative by providing decision support for referring clinicians for lumbar spine, knee and hip MRI referrals.  Appropriateness checklists for these exams have been developed as well as information forms for both physicians and patients.

The new requisition, appropriate checklists and information forms can be found at the bottom of this page.

What are the benefits of central intake?

Central intake for MRI supports the objectives of the provincial MRI strategy to provide timely and equitable access to MRI. Benefits of central intake include reducing and smoothing MRI wait lists and reducing the number of duplicate referrals and missed appointments. Central intake will provide referring clinicians access to 11 MRI facilities through a single referral process.

Why did we move to central intake platform?

MRI exams performed in lower mainland health authorities have historically been booked through a decentralized model where referrals are sent to individual hospital sites. Each site manages its own MRI wait list and booking processes. MRI wait times vary considerably between lower mainland MRI facilities. There is limited ability within the current model to offer patients an earlier appointment at an alternate location. Decentralized intake and lack of visibility into MRI wait times has also led to duplicate referrals and missed appointments with some patients booked at multiple sites across the region.

What is the impact on referring clinicians?

  • Central intake will provide referring clinicians with a central fax number to direct outpatient MRI referrals for 11 MRI sites across the lower mainland.

  • An updated regional MRI requisition will be introduced as part of the project. LMMI has been working with EMR vendors to support ease of use of the new requisition form. 

  • For lumbar spine, hip, knee and shoulder referrals an appropriateness checklist will be required to be submitted with the requisition.

  • Central intake will enable patients to be booked at the most appropriate lower mainland MRI site with the shortest wait time.

  • Referring clinicians will be able to indicate a preferred MRI site on the requisition if desired.

MRI Central Intake details and forms

Fax number: 1 (866) 588-6955
Phone number: 1 (866) 588-6954

Regional MRI Requisition

Regional Appropriateness Checklist

Information for physicians – MRI CI Lumbar Spine Appropriateness Clinician

Information for physicians – MRI CI Knee Hip Appropriateness Clinician

Information for patients – Lumbar spine (Choosing Wisely Canada) Acute Low Back Patient Handout

Information for patients – MRI CI Knee Hip Appropriateness Patient Info

Please see the recent memos distributed to all referring physicians:

For more information about this project, please contact the project team at MRICentralIntake@vch.ca for a response.

SOURCE: Improving Access to MRI through Central Intake ( )
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