Full-body MRI helps Hackensack Radiology Group boost quality, find growth opportunities

Hackensack Radiology Group is a provider of diagnostic and interventional radiology services in Northern New Jersey with a 50-year track record of providing technologically advanced imaging services and quality patient care in convenient outpatient centers. It offers the full gamut of imaging services, including PET, MRI, CT, mammography, ultrasound, X-ray and DEXA, as well as myriad boutique niche exams.


A few years ago, Hackensack Radiology began receiving requests from patients for full-body MRI screening to detect cancer. The organization is committed to screening, including breast cancer, lung cancer and coronary artery calcium, and it was intrigued by this opportunity.

However, full-body MRI screening is a daunting endeavor as it presents two primary challenges, said Don Elting, director of operations at Hackensack Radiology Group.

“The first is protocol length, since accurate detection of cancer requires robust multiparametric high resolution imaging, which often takes considerable time,” he explained. “The second is appropriate management of results, since screening inevitably leads to detection of numerous findings, some significant and others innocuous.

“Since we could not design a time-efficient comprehensive full-body MRI protocol that met our high standards, and we did not have a reliable method to ensure proper management, we did not offer this service,” he continued. “Still, despite these challenges, given the rising patient demand, it was clear we needed to investigate further.”


Hackensack Radiology went on the hunt and found vendor Ezra’s AI-powered full-body MRI technology. Ezra works with radiology clinics such as Hackensack Radiology to increase access to full-body MRI.

“One major challenge with full-body MRI is the need for both high-resolution imaging and fast scanning times,” Elting noted. “Typically, in MRI, there are always tradeoffs between image quality and acquisition time. If you optimize fast scan times, you often sacrifice quality.

“However, Ezra uses FDA-cleared, state-of-the-art AI image enhancement to enable rapid scan times while maintaining high image quality,” he continued. “This facilitates a comprehensive full-body MRI protocol with very fast scan times as short as 30 minutes.”

The second major challenge with full-body MRI is management of results.

“The primary intent of a full-body MRI screening exam is to detect cancer,” Elting explained. “However, screening exams can also detect numerous incidental findings, which have variable significance. Confusion over the significance of these findings can sometimes lead to unnecessary expensive work-ups.

“Ezra produces AI-assisted medical reports that translate our radiologists’ findings into layman terms and triages findings into clinical significance,” he added. “This promises to help patients understand the significance of potential malignancy and alleviate anxiety over harmless incidental findings, thereby empowering patients and ensuring appropriate management.”


All of the vendor’s exams are performed exclusively on 3T MRI as opposed to 1.5T or lower field strength MRI. This ensures maximum signal and high-resolution imaging to improve sensitivity for cancer detection.

“All our facilities have 3.0T MRI and Ezra seamlessly integrated with our magnets to upload protocols,” Elting reported. “The vendor then conducted rigorous quality assurance testing to ensure optimal signal-to-noise ratios before we began scanning patients.

“The vendor manages scheduling, billing and follow-up for all of its patients,” he continued. “This decreases administrative burden and drives efficiency for our overall operations. Once a patient is scheduled at our location, one of our more than 40 board certified fellowship trained radiologists oversee the scans and interpretation of results, which ensures high clinical standards.”


Ezra is now one of Hackensack Radiology’s top referrers.

“Since we partnered in 2023, we’ve seen more than 250 Ezra patients for full-body MRI scans, which has brought increased growth opportunities to our clinic,” Elting said. “More importantly, the full-body MRI scans have helped us detect multiple early-stage cancers, which has hopefully saved lives.

“The vendor has ensured that demand for high-touch technical healthcare solutions by our customers is being met on a day-to-day basis,” he continued. “Furthermore, it has helped Hackensack Radiology maintain its position as a leading provider of cutting-edge imaging services in the Northeast, which creates a continuous flywheel of business and traction in our core markets.”


“There is no doubt we are in the midst of a renaissance in the healthcare industry, as preventative technologies like full-body MRI scans, wearable sleep trackers and continuous glucose monitors continue to gain traction among the mainstream,” said Elting. “It’s clear people want more control over their health as early as possible so they can meet health challenges head on if and when they arrive.

“Being able to offer a service like this, which empowers patients with ongoing monitoring of potential disease, is a major competitive advantage in the radiology space – and I’d encourage more healthcare providers to consider offering these services.”

Follow Bill’s HIT coverage on LinkedIn: Bill Siwicki
Email him: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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