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Workflow decisions


MRTs prioritize their workflow to ensure examinations and treatment are performed within an appropriate and reasonable time frame based on the nature of the patient’s condition


+ Balancing priorities

  • MRTs make efforts to use available resources in the most efficient way possible based on an understanding of the dynamics of their own facility and patient populations.
  • In making decisions on workflow, MRTs ensure all relevant information about a patient is considered, including:1
    • Clinical importance of examination, procedure or treatment for the patient
    • Impact of timing on the patient's management and care
    • Priority of procedure or treatment, based on patient history and current status (e.g., critical, urgent, etc.)
    • Complexity of procedure/treatment
    • Other procedures to be performed and how they will affect each other
    • Availability of resources (e.g., staff, equipment, etc.)
    • Other priorities (e.g., patient involved in clinical trial)

  • In departments where it is necessary to accommodate urgent procedures:
    • It is common to reserve blocks of time for urgent requests
    • Rescheduling is based on a rationale that takes into account the elements of priority discussed

+ Collaborative decisions

  • Decisions on workflow in imaging or radiation therapy departments affect other members of the healthcare team.
  • MRTs are sensitive to the needs of other healthcare professionals and are conscious of the need for consultation with the multidisciplinary team.
    • Decisions about workflow are explained based on the rationale used to balance the priorities of all patients

+ Communication with patients

  • Conversations with patients regarding workflow should be approached with respect and understanding.
  • The decision to alter a patient's scheduled appointment is discussed in a way that shows respect for the individual:
    • Explain why the delay occurred
    • Provide some idea of how long the delay will be
    • Discuss potential options
    • If rescheduling is necessary, reassure the patient that they will be given appropriate priority status

+ References

  1. Best Practice Guidelines for Managing the Flow of Patients Requiring an MRI or CT Examination. 2009. Available at: Accessed April 5, 2012.



May 25, 2012


Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists
85 Albert St, Suite 1000, Ottawa, ON, K1P 6A4
phone: 613 234-0012 / 800 463-9729
fax: 613 234-1097