The Joint Commission has announced new and revised diagnostic imaging standards for accredited hospitals, critical access hospitals, and ambulatory healthcare organizations.
The changes--effective July 1, 2014--relate to quality and safety issues that pertain to changing health delivery practices, or that expand upon current Joint Commission requirements, such as those relating to MRI. A second round of accreditation announcements will be phased in by 2015.
"With these updates, The Joint Commission's goal is to ensure that our imaging standards remain up-to-date and sufficiently address quality and safety," Margaret VanAmringe, executive vice president, Public Policy & Government Relations, The Joint Commission, said in an announcement. "These rigorous imaging standards address overall patient safety, oversight of imaging services, staff competency, radiation safety procedures, equipment maintenance and quality control. This system evaluation seeks to ensure that organizations providing imaging services have the requisite infrastructure and safety culture to minimize radiation exposure to patients and staff and provide safe and effective care."
The initial standards changes relate to CT, nuclear medicine, PET and MRI, while the second phase of changes will focus on fluoroscopy, cone beam CT used in dental offices and oral-maxillary surgery practices, and minimum qualifications for clinicians who perform imaging exams. The areas addressed in the new and revised standards include those for documenting CT radiation dose in patients' clinical records, as well as collecting data on adverse events, such as when a radiation dose exceeds recommended limits.
In addition, the standards include minimum competency requirements for radiologic technologists, as well as requirements that qualified medical physicists perform evaluations of imaging equipment on at least an annual basis.