There are a large number of challenges being faced by health care facilities across the nation. These include dealing with the new ACA rules, collecting payments from patients and insurers, and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for staff and patients alike.
In addition, healthcare organizations must constantly strive to keep up with best practices in the health care industry. In that vein, some hospitals and ambulatory care organizations are in the process of trying to comply with revised standards issued by the Joint Commission pertaining to radiation safety. Failure to be in compliance with these standards beginning in July could result in the loss off accreditation by the Joint Commission.
Background on Revised Joint Commission Standards
These new diagnostic imaging standards are the result of discussions between professional associations, diagnostic imaging experts, and accredited organizations on how best to balance radiation safety with a surge in the usage of radiological imaging. Given that patients’ exposure to ionized radiation has doubled over the past two decades, there are concerns that people who are seeking health care treatment may be increasing their risk of undesirable conditions in future years.
Specific Areas of Focus
After receiving input, the Joint Commission devised a set of new standards which covered everything from altering CT protocols to developing incident management policies and procedures to procuring new software and technologies to monitor and track radiation dosage. Here are some of the specific areas that have been targeted by the Joint Commission:
- Risk management of the security and safety of patients with medical implants, claustrophobia, and other special circumstances
- Risk management of hazardous waste and materials led by a radiation safety officer or medical physicist
- Annual imaging equipment performance evaluations by a diagnostic medical physicist
- Required ongoing education for radiologic technologists in techniques to decrease radiation doses
- Attainment of minimum competency standards and registration or certification by all radiology technicians
- Inclusion in patient’s clinical record of CT radiation dosages
- Continuous collection of data relating to radiology injuries and incidents
Implementation of Joint Commission Standards
The Joint Commission standards will be implemented in two phases: one beginning in July and the second commencing on July 1, 2015. The first phase pertains to nuclear medicine, MRI, PET, and CT; while the second focuses on fluoroscopy, cone beam CT, and imaging clinician qualifications.
If your medical facility is facing significant obstacles in complying with these new Joint Commission standards, SteleRAD can help. SteleRAD has been providing diagnostic imaging in a variety of subspecialties for 45 years. Our skilled and experienced radiologists can be an asset to any medical care facility. For more information, contact us online or call 954-358-5250.