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Driving healthcare forward: The potential of mobile MRI and CT units in streamlining radiological services in Saudi Arabia - A narrative review

HumanInsight Driving healthcare forward: The potential of mobile MRI and CT units in streamlining radiological services in Saudi Arabia - A narrative review

J Med Imaging Radiat Sci. 2024 Jul 9;55(4):101444. doi: 10.1016/j.jmir.2024.101444. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: This narrative review focuses on the role of mobile MRI and CT units in addressing the challenges of healthcare accessibility and patient wait times in Saudi Arabia. It underscores the growing demand for diagnostic imaging amid infrastructural and geographical barriers, emphasizing mobile units as innovative solutions for enhancing radiological services across diverse Saudi landscapes. The purpose of this study is to assess how these mobile technologies can mitigate service delays, improve patient outcomes, and support healthcare delivery in remote or underserved areas, reflecting on global trends towards more dynamic, patient-centered healthcare models.

METHODS: This review utilizes an expanded database search and refined keywords to ensure comprehensive literature coverage. The study focused on peer-review articles and grey literatures that directly examined the impact of these mobile units on healthcare accessibility, wait times, and service delivery. A thematic analysis identified significant contributions to accessibility improvements, emergency responses, and rural healthcare, highlighting areas for further research and policy development.

DISCUSSION: Mobile units have advanced technical specifications with high-field magnets and multi-slice CT scanners on par with fixed facilities. They prioritize patient comfort and safety with examination areas, control rooms, and waiting areas. Telemedicine capabilities allow real-time image transmission to specialists. Strategic deployment can address workforce shortages by distributing services equitably. Mobile units represent cost-effective solutions to expand healthcare access without fixed infrastructure.

CONCLUSION: Integration of mobile MRI and CT units in Saudi Arabia can transform access to diagnostic imaging by decentralizing services and directly reaching patients, including rural areas. Evidence shows mobile units reduce diagnostic delays and optimize resource use. Despite challenges, strategic investments and collaborations can overcome obstacles to make radiological services more equitable, flexible and patient-focused in Saudi Arabia.

PMID:38986296 | DOI:10.1016/j.jmir.2024.101444

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