If there’s any one driver inspiring MRI suite design today, it’s the patient experience. When you combine patient focus with traditional concerns (including MRI noise and MRI safety) it’s clear the relationship between the architect and RF shielding vendor can help make the experience less stressful for patients and clinicians.

Following are 4 things you need to know before you hire an MRI shielding contractor.

1. What is their track record in applying the physics of radio frequency (RF) shielding, magnetic shielding, and acoustic shielding while maintaining focus on safety considerations? MRI suites must address significant, and growing, challenges that are created by a number of adverse events unique to this modality. The fundamental function of effective MRI shielding is the attenuation of radio-frequency interference. A good MRI shielding contractor will design a suite that will protect your equipment from ever-present radio wave interference sources, such as radio, television, and electrical power sources, while also ensuring that critical external sources will operate properly and will not be affected by your magnet’s radio signals.

Magnetic shielding is of utmost importance in maintaining the safety of both the patient and attending staff. A proper shield design will contain the magnet’s strength within the suite itself while also incorporating the latest Ferrous Metal Detection systems neatly into the door designs to ensure that dangerous magnetic objects are not admitted into the MRI room.

Despite constant efforts by MRI magnet vendors to reduce or eliminate acoustic noise, the magnets are still extremely loud inside the room and can be heard in both adjoining and, in some instances, distant departments. Look for a MRI Shielding contractor that has the experience to include various acoustic solutions to reduce the amount of noise traveling through the shield to the surrounding areas.

These noise reduction efforts should start with MRI suite planning and installation. Proper layout and the use of available (in some cases patented) material combinations of varying densities combined with the proven MRI shielding designs can mean the difference between a peaceful environment and an annoying, potentially harmful one.

2. Does your contractor think green? Healthcare facilities impact the health of their occupants more than any other facility, but until recently there were limited options for green MRI construction.

Look for a contractor who utilizes Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified products. Ask if they use any natural materials in their shielding design and recycled insulation materials, such as recycled denim.

Recycled denim insulation offers several benefits in addition to its’ thermal and acoustic properties. The insulation contains no volatile organic compounds or formaldehyde, which can pollute a building’s air. It also does not contain fiberglass; therefore, it does not irritate the skin or respiratory tract during installation.

3. Do they work effectively with cross-functional partners?
Communication is a key. Seamless, documented communication with all team members is perhaps the most important ingredient to a successful installation. Project managers with in-field experience who know what it takes to ensure smooth installations and make sure projects achieve the desire result are an added bonus. Your RF Shielding contractor should know how to effectively communicate and suggest to the team (imaging directors, architects, and construction contractors) from his perspective what is needed for a successful design, timely installation, and a shield that meets and complies with everyone’s expectations.

4. What is their reputation for customer care and do they offer meaningful warranties? Customer care shouldn’t end after installation is complete. Look for a contractor with excellent warranties who focuses as much on taking care of their clients as they do in making sure the design and installation of the suite and shield are done properly.

IMEDCO’s proven techniques combine layers of select materials in shield walls, floors, and ceilings, and our MRI isolation designs provide impressive noise reduction—both within the suite and beyond—all with the best warranties in the business. When combined with effective floor plans and practical structural wall designs, the MRI Shield can be a surprisingly effective and complimentary package to minimize the potential issues that the department may face after the equipment is in use.

Before you take the next step in designing your hospital’s MRI suite, consider the opportunity that an MRI Shield contractor can offer for your investment and to your department. And contact one of our knowledgeable consultants today.