It's important to us to keep you informed about changes in medical physics regulations -- and it's also our pleasure to keep you informed as part of our commitment to customer service.

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Radiographic Technique Still Matters For Image Quality and Patient Dose

Posted on Saturday, March 23rd, 2013, under Radiography

Shirley Bartley, M.B.A., RT (R)(N)

The new technologist at the hospital radiology department went to do a portable in the ICU.  The patient looked average size. She looked for the technique chart to set the correct exposure factors.  There was no chart to be found.  She guessed at the technique based on what she could remember from the last place she worked.  When the new tech returned to the department the supervisor was reviewing the image.  “You are going to have to repeat this portable chest. There is an image quality problem. You didn’t penetrate the mediastinum.”  The supervisor told the new tech.

If the kVp is too low the anatomy will not be properly penetrated.  The fine detail in dense areas of the body will just not be there.  This will jeopardize the radiologist ability to make a correct interpretation of the patient’s condition.

A few minutes later the new tech was working in room 2 with a seasoned employee.  The new tech selected the radiographic technique from the anatomic programing feature on the operator’s consol.  “Don’t use that.  It doesn’t work.  I have my own technique.”  The new technologist made a mental note to try to remember the technique.

Without standard technique systems that are used by everyone image quality will be inconsistent.  It is difficult for the radiologist to see changes in the patient’s condition when totally different radiographic technique is used.   Technologist that just “remember” their own techniques are frequently wrong.

After lunch the new tech was working with a radiology student.  They did an abdomen using automatic exposure control (AEC).  Viewing the image, the new tech pointed out that the exposure indicator value was well above the acceptable range.  The students said, “They don’t pay any attention to the number here.”

With digital systems the image that is over exposed no longer comes out black.  The only way we can determine that the patient was over exposed is with the exposure indicator value.   The AEC unit that is not properly calibrated will not produce the correct quantity of radiation for the image.   When the exposure indicator value is ignored the patients may be overexposed unnecessarily.

These three situations describe common problems for image quality and patient dose.  ISS, Inc.  can assist you in maximizing image quality while keeping patient dose as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA).  For more information access our recent white paper.

Have you thanked a medical physicist today?

Posted on Thursday, March 7th, 2013, under Radiography

Medical physicists are the people behind the scenes making sure ultrasound, MRI, CT scans, mammography and other types of imaging equipment all working to their utmost accuracy, and that the clinics and hospitals using them have the technology available to maintain regulations. This is also true for dentistry clinics and veterinary clinics who use imaging technology.

Headquartered in St. Joseph, Mo., but serving the states of Missouri, Iowa and Kansas, ISS, Inc., provides inspections, audits and troubleshooting for several types of radiological and imaging equipment used across medical fields, dentistry and veterinarian services.

It’s a specialty field, but ISS, Inc., stands out for our experience, knowledge and commitment to customer service. Many of our clients have received service for education, accreditation, audits, and design plans for imaging for years. Many clients have saved precious hours when equipment — such as mammography or ultrasound — needs an inspection or a plan for repair by working with our team at ISS, Inc.

We’re also the first medical physicists in the state to complete the criteria for Qualified Expert status. The title is critical because it’s required by a recent change in an existing Missouri rule. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has stated that all hospitals and clinics must call a Qualified Expert in radiation safety for a periodic radiation safety survey. Only medical physics experts who have been radiation safety registered and approved by the Department of Health and Senior Services can perform these surveys.

Many of our clients also rely on ISS, Inc., for radiation safety and ACR accreditation counseling. In most cases, we can respond within a day to medical physics needs – meaning clinics continue providing the best in imaging services and patients get top accuracy in care.