Joint Commission issues new imaging standards
First batch effective in July
The Joint Commission has announced multiple changes in its diagnostic imaging standards, with some due to come into force in July, and another batch by 2015. Among them are those related to magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), minimum competency for radiology technicians, and annual evaluations for imaging equipment by a medical physicist.
Phase one, beginning in July, is primarily concerned with various types of imaging — computed tomography, nuclear medicine, MRI, and positron emission tomography. Phase two includes some types of imaging, as well as personnel issues. It comes into force in 2015 and includes fluoroscopy, cone beam computed tomography used in dental offices and for oral-maxillary surgery, as well as the minimum qualifications for those who perform imaging exams.
Specific changes include:
- minimum competency for radiology technologists, including registration and certification by July 1, 2015;
- annual performance evaluations of imaging equipment by a medical physicist;
- documentation of CT radiation dose in the patient's clinical record;
- meeting the needs of the pediatric population through imaging protocols and considering patient size or body habitus when establishing imaging protocols;
- management of safety risks in the MRI environment;
- collection of data on incidents where pre-identified radiation dose limits have been exceeded.
The prepublication standards for hospitals and critical access hospitals are available at http://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/6/PREPUB-12-20-2013-DiagImaging_HAP_CAH.pdf. The complete standards should be available at the Joint Commission website sometime in March.