New requirements focused on fluoroscopy went into effect in January. These requirements apply to:
- Accredited ambulatory care (AHC) organizations
- Office-based surgery (OBS) practices
- Hospital organizations providing fluoroscopy services to their patients
The requirements come courtesy of The Joint Commission. The not-for-profit organization accredits and certifies U.S.-based healthcare organizations and programs.
From The Joint Commission:
“These new and revised fluoroscopy requirements were developed based on risks identified by diagnostic imaging experts and accredited ambulatory care and hospital customers. Complying with these new requirements will help you and your staff in your efforts to provide safe, effective patient care.”
The fluoroscopy requirements address:
- Designating a radiation safety officer to provide oversight of radiologic services
- Establishing radiation dose thresholds that warrant investigation and patient follow-up investigating instances where thresholds were exceeded
- Equipment checks to ensure the fluoroscopy unit is working properly
- Physician and staff education on radiation dose management and equipment operation
- Capturing radiation dose information
Safety in the Practice
Safety is always of paramount concern when radiation is utilized, both for the patient and medical staff. In recent years, the issue of safety has cropped up in a couple of ways.
Medscape Medical News reported that orthopedic hardware radiation scatter can harm first assistants’ eyes during mini-C arm fluoroscopy. The outlet cited one expert who advised surgeons and first assistants to use the mini-C arm in the vertical position as much as possible. Additionally, they should always wear lead-lined glasses and other protective clothing.
The glasses suggestion may seem obvious at first glance. But some healthcare institutions do not provide them, they can affect visibility, and they must be made specifically for the user if he or she wears prescription lenses.
To help reduce exposure from mini-C-Arms, Robert Orfaly, MD, suggested operators use a targeting system without continuous imaging to help position hardware.
TCTMD, an online publication from the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, wrote that data indicates the amount of radiation interventional cardiologists are exposed to during coronary angiography is directly related to patient body mass index (BMI). In other words: the higher a patient’s BMI, the more scatter radiation exposure the physicians receive.
“I think our findings suggest that patient obesity and the obesity epidemic may be adversely impacting the health of physicians, particularly in the cath lab, as it comes to their radiation dose,” Ryan Madder, an MD with Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids who lead the research, said.
Fortunately, medical practices have many options at their disposal to increase radiation safety and awareness.
The Information You Need
As members of the healthcare equipment industry for decades, the team at Complete Medical Services understand how crucial it is to keep abreast of changes in the field. Continue to turn to CompleteMedicalServices.com for the equipment information you need and more.