The Reading Room

Joint Commission revises imaging standards

Natalie McGarry, Imaging Performance Partnership

The Joint Commission has announced a two part rollout of revised imaging standards set to take effect in July 2014 and 2015. Read on to learn about the revisions, including new minimum competency requirements for technologists and radiation dose documentation.

The two phase rollout

The Joint Commission has announced both updates to existing standards and new requirements that will apply to accredited hospitals, critical access hospitals, and ambulatory care centers. The revisions update gaps created by new technology and address quality and safety issues in care delivery

Phase one of the revisions begin on July 1, 2014 and will affect standards related to computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Phase two doesn’t take effect until 2015, and will address minimum qualifications for clinicians performing imaging exams, as well as fluoroscopy and cone beam CT (used in dental offices and oral maxillary surgery practices).

Revised standards

The Joint Commission’s updated standards will affect the following areas:

  • Minimum competency for radiology technologists, including registration and certification (by July 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 in which preidentified radiation dose limits have been exceeded

Margaret VanAmringe, MHS, executive vice president, Public Policy & Government Relations for the Joint Commission was quoted as saying:

"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. 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."

More from the Imaging Performance Partnership

To learn more about improving quality and monitoring radiation dose, check out our on-demand webconferences, “9 Ways to Improve Your Imaging Product” and “Advancing Radiation Dose Risk Management.”