Nearly 160 medical specialists who frequently use magnetic resonance imaging equipment will know by mid-July how they performed on the debut version of a credentialing test evaluating knowledge of MRI safety.
The American Board of Magnetic Resonance Safety initiated the testing as a way of ensuring MRI competency among frontline users. Hazards associated with imaging technology include patients getting burned when surgical staples overheat, allergic reactions to contrast solution, and injuries from objects getting sucked into the machine's magnetic field at high speeds, producing a “missile effect.” The new credentialing test addresses these types of safety oversights.
“Most people's knowledge of MRI safety is kind of a patchwork,” said Tobias Gilk, a radiology and MRI consultant who serves on the group's board of directors. “Our goal is to set some sort of threshold and to identify where people are underperforming.”
Radiologists, MRI technologists and medical physicists from 29 states, Canada and Qatar took the test last week in Las Vegas. They were evaluated on their knowledge of issues such as magnetic attractions, medical screening of patients and legal and regulatory requirements.
The board plans to publish aggregate information about trends in exam performance, which could indicate which areas of MRI safety are most problematic and for which specialists.
The safety group will re-administer the examination this October in Orlando, Fla. It also will debut another credentialing test geared more specifically to medical physicists. The credentialing exam is scheduled to be administered electronically as early as 2017.