Rationale and objectives: Assess whether staff training in advanced rapport skills and self-hypnotic relaxation techniques reduces noncompletion rates during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Methods and materials: All staff of a free-standing MRI facility was invited to 3 hours of preparatory communication lectures. Half of the practice was then engaged in intensive training. Clerical personnel and nonlicensed health care professionals received training in advanced rapport skills only (8 hours); licensed health care professionals were trained in advanced rapport skills plus rapid hypnotic techniques (17 hours). Content was adapted so that no interruptions of workflow would become necessary. The format included lectures, large group discussions, small group practice, and a microteaching exercise.
Results: During the quarter of operation before the training 1.2% (80 of 6,654) of patients could not complete their studies. After training, 0.74% (52 of 7,008) patients did not complete their scans (P < .01). Noncompletion rates of scans on the open magnet, on which the most anxious patients were scheduled, decreased from 3.43% (37 of 1,078 patients per quarter) to 1.45% (19 of 1,098). After staff was informed that the MRI partnership would be dissolved and personnel might be transferred or laid off, the noncompletion rate increased again, although not to the original levels; then, after partial dismantling of the facility, leveled off to 0.92% overall and 1.84% on the open magnet. Success was maintained at 1-year follow-up.
Conclusion: Team training in advanced rapport skills and self-hypnotic relaxation techniques significantly reduces MRI noncompletion rates. Personnel distress can adversely affect the patient experience.