Radiographic and Fluoroscopic Equipment Evaluation
Periodic performance evaluations are performed to insure the equipment is performing to manufacturer’s specifications essential for optimal image quality results. The performance tests, set by regulatory agencies, include: collimation, kVp accuracy, radiographic timer, mR/mAs linearity, tomography, fluoroscopic image quality, AEC performance, exposure switch, interlocks, half value layer, fluoroscopic timer, fluoroscopic exposure rates, and SID indicator accuracy.
Acceptance and annual surveys requirements are performed according to regulatory and manufacturer specification. These tests include: dose profile width, spatial resolution, low-contrast detectability, and patient dose. Since 2005, UMP has performed all routine CT testing using the ACR CT Accreditation program phantom and imaging standards. Whether accredited or not, our clients know how their systems perform against the ACR’s widely accepted benchmarks of image quality and dose.
Since the ACR initiated its Mammography Accreditation Program in 1987, and subsequently President George H.W. Bush signed the Mammography Quality Standards Act into law in 1992, UMP has developed a passion and an expertise for providing medical physics services to mammography facilities. We have more than 20 years of experience assessing mammography systems, including screen-film, DR and CR digital mammography, of nearly every manufacturer. We survey well over 100 mammography facilities each year – from large university and private practice centers to small hospitals and multi-specialty clinics. To meet MQSA standards, UMP incorporates the following tests: collimation assessment, system resolution, AEC assessment, screen speed uniformity. Artifact evaluation, image quality evaluation, kVp, HVL, breast entrance exposure, average glandular dose, radiation output rates. compression evaluation, viewbox luminance, and QC program review.
UMP has been performing MR Medical Physics Surveys for about 10 years when we purchased our first ACR MR Accreditation Program (MRAP) phantom. Though not required by NYSDOH (since no ionizing radiation is used), our clients have asked us to perform this service in increasing numbers over the past few years.
In 2005, the ACR MRAP has required that copies of the annual medical physics survey be submitted with accreditation materials for each scanner. Until 2005, the ACR would accept MRAP applications without this documentation, but no longer according to Theresa Branham, MRAP Manager at ACR.
The ACR MRAP Site Instructions recommend that facilities utilize their medical physicist to assist with the phantom imaging (acquisition and quantitative analysis) before these images are submitted to ACR. We have performed this service for many clients over the years, and have assisted with accreditation of more than a dozen MR scanners in 2007.
Since the ACR issued their newest White Paper on MR Safety in June 2007, UMP has provided many facilities (and their architects and planners) with guidance in design of new MR scanning suites and recommendations for safety improvement for existing suites. UMP is ready to help you to assure image quality, safety and assist with MR Accreditation.
CR systems are tested for image quality and dose calibration. Parameters routinely evaluated by UMP include: image plate uniformity, dark noise, signal response for linearity, calibration and beam quality, laser beam function, high-contrast resolution, distortion, and throughput.
Image workstation displays are monitored annually for proper brightness and contrast. Improperly calibrated displays can obscure subtle abnormalities.
In addition to traditional medical physics support, UMP can provide assistance with a number of other health physics services, including:
- Unsealed radioactive material assessments (Biomedical Research Labs using H-3, C-14 and other isotopes)
- Laboratory and Hot Lab decommissioning
- Wipe testing for removable contamination
- Sealed Source leak tests
- Support for waste monitors located in hospitals – testing, placement, etc.
- Radiation monitoring (film badge/TLD/OSL) and other dosimetry support
- Safety assessments for Analytical and Industrial X-ray units (X-ray Diffraction, faxitrons, X-ray curing units, X-ray Fluorescence, etc.)
- Nuclear Gauge safety assessments
- Radioactive waste management
- DOT requirements for transportation of radioactive material
- Survey meter selection
- Radiation Safety Training
Click Here for Radiation Safety Training Program License Agreement
ESE is the measurement of radiation output at the point of skin entry for common X-ray examinations. Based on our measured data and clinical techniques, we periodically report ESE and ESER, comparing the results with regulatory or advisory standards. Most importantly, we advise our clients about whether or not any changes should be made to provide optimized imaging at ALARA dose levels. With CR and DR imaging, this has become even more critical, since images obtained with too little or too much radiation do not appear light or dark.