Lean Blog — 497: Improving MRI Safety for Patients and Staff: Tobias Gilk

My guest for Episode #497 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Tobias Gilk, the founder of Gilk Radiology Consulting (GRC). He is an architect by training, but has spent 20+ years focusing on MRI safety… initially through the architecture and planning of MRI facilities, but quickly growing into the technology, clinical practice, regulation, and economics of MRI safety.

Episode page with video, transcript, and more

He is recognized by both state and federal courts as an expert in MRI safety issues. Tobias has published dozens of papers and articles on MRI safety. He is also twice a member of the American College of Radiology’s MRI Safety Committee (twice named co-author of ACR MRI safety standard guidance).

In this episode, we dive deep into the complexities of MRI technology, acknowledging its transformative role in health care but equally highlighting the overlooked dangers that require meticulous handling. Delving into safety protocols, process failures, and the risks associated with projectiles and thermal injuries, they underscore the need for stricter adherence to safety protocols.

We not only discuss the intrinsic risks associated with MRI but also explore the regulatory landscape, identifying key gaps that permit inconsistency in safety practices. The narrative is a pointed reminder that safety is of paramount importance, and mitigating risks requires thorough screening, careful positioning, and a collective commitment to safety-first processes.

Questions, Notes, and Highlights:

  • Give us a quick MRI technology overview… 
  • “The safe modality”
  • What causes danger to staff and patients??
  • Machine malfunctions are very rare — possible burns?
  • A typical safety story?
  • Clinically safe but with inherent process-related dangers?
  • Why aren’t there better access controls and checks about what and who comes near the magnet?
  • Couldn’t we cheaply brute force this by posting an educated “MRI Guard” outside the danger zone? Is patient safety really the top priority??
  • Staffing cost vs. risks of harm or machine damage…
  • How common / frequent are incidents that harm or kill?
  • “If you’ve been told that MRI safety only comes at the expense of throughput, you’ve been lied to.”
  • “Absolutely, Lean is essential to MRI safety…”

The podcast is brought to you by Stiles Associates, the premier executive search firm specializing in the placement of Lean Transformation executives. With a track record of success spanning over 30 years, it’s been the trusted partner for the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare sectors. Learn more.

This episode is also brought to you by “The Optimistic Outlook,” hosted by Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA. This podcast is a hub for those passionate about transformative concepts that shape both our workplaces and our world. Find it in your favorite podcast app.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network