Advances in science, technology and social media, plus a $215 million investment in the 2016 federal budget, are aligning to create unprecedented innovations in health care. Using science to precisely target subgroups of patients with similar prognoses to treat them with very specific therapies may sound like something from a futuristic novel, but this process is real. Welcome to precision medicine.
Whether we like it or not, medicine is moving from fee-for-service (FFS) to value-based payments. Part of this movement involves site neutrality payments from Medicare, which means that imaging services are likely to be affected.
The risk to patients and imaging providers from medical radiation is often considered low. However, the broadly accepted principal relative to medical radiation is to keep the dose to patients and staff “as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA).” Although state and federal regulations exist to promote proper imaging practices, gaps do exist in most jurisdictions; RadSite’s standards aim to fill these gaps.
Imaging centers that follow industry best practices commonly have in-house medical physics programs. Medical physicists have an advanced degree in medical physics, physics, radiation biology or a related discipline as well as training in clinical medical physics. Clinical training may be obtained through a residency traineeship or a postdoctoral program of one or two years in a hospital. When you make the decision to hire a medical physicist, look for a certified, qualified professional who meets the right credentials for your organization.
A medical physicist has many benefits, but their chief value is that they can ensure your diagnostic imaging department is fully compliant in regards to equipment, radiation safety and dosage levels and team members. In fact, medical centers that follow industry best practices have in-house medical physics programs; RadSite’s MIPPA Accreditation Program (MAP) also requires an annual medical physics report for each CT, MRI, PET or SPECT system undergoing accreditation. But simply having a full-time medical physicist on your team does not ensure that your program is running at the optimum level.