McCollough and others argued that terminology standardization among equipment manufacturers would alleviate some quality assurance problems that result from confusion over equipment operation when switching between machinery produced by different manufacturers.
But radiology professionals also said such changes are only a small piece of the effort that needs to be made toward standardizing the medical imaging field. They also called for a common set of accreditation requirements among the three organizations recently authorized to accredited freestanding imaging facilities. The industry also should create a requirement for facilities to track and report patient dose levels so that overdose incidents can be more quickly identified, attendees said.
Participants also said that radiation-services providers must do a better job of identifying and planning for their equipment-user training needs and imaging equipment manufacturers should improve the quality of their response to users' questions about dosing protocol and system settings.
The meeting highlighted the challenges providers and manufacturers face in assuring that uniform imaging-safety standards are not only established, but that radiation technologists, radiologists and prescribing physicians are properly trained and adhere to the protocols. “Too often a super user is assigned to us for training on equipment because of their seniority and not their ability to train others,” Toshiba representative Sharon Yoon said during a roundtable discussion. “So I'd encourage every facility to look at ability” as a criteria, Yoon added.
But some radiology experts argued that manufacturers sometimes appear more concerned about protecting trade secrets than providing imaging equipment users with the information they need to safely perform patient scans.
Keith Strauss, director of radiology physics and engineering at Children's Hospital Boston, said he has been challenged to get manufacturers to provide configuration documentation that he has needed to ensure proper setup of imaging equipment. “I understand that the vendor might be concerned that documentation could fall into the hands of competitors, but as a medical physicist, I'm not interested in sharing trade secrets,” h said. Strauss stressed the need for manufacturers to develop a system for providing such information to radiology equipment users.
The discussion came a day after a former FDA scientist said his job was eliminated after he raised concerns about the risks of radiation exposure from high-grade medical scanning.
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