This is the final blog in a series about the significance of having a medical physicist in your diagnostic imaging department.
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.
Designations to consider when hiring
When you make the decision to hire a medical physicist, look for a certified, qualified professional who meets the right credentials for your organization.
In addition, seek a medical physicist who has been board certified by an approved national certification body. RadSite’s MIPPA Accreditation Program (MAP) accepts medical physicists who have either board certification or eligibility from one of the following entities:
- The American Board of Radiology (ABR).
- The American Board of Medical Physics (ABMP).
- The American Board of Health Physics (ABHP).
- The American Board of Science in Nuclear Medicine (ABSNM).
A qualified medical physicist (QMP) has also been granted certification in the specific subfield(s) of medical physics with its associated medical health physics aspects by an appropriate national certifying body and abides by the certifying body’s requirements for continuing education. Subfields include Therapeutic Medical Physics, Diagnostic Medical Physics, Nuclear Medical Physics and Medical Health Physics.
The Qualified Medical Physicist Registry was established as a central location to confirm the qualifications of board certified medical physicists. This registry provides independent verification to state radiation control program staff and employers including written documentation presented with applications for employment or to the radiation control program upon application for a radioactive material license or machine license or registration.
Data on certifications and specialties have been provided to the registry by all of the certifying boards recognized by RadSite as well as the Canadian College of Physicists in Medicine.
Licensure and Registration
Whether a QMP needs to be licensed or registered depends upon the state they are practicing in. The Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine have collaborated to create a map of states that license and register medical physicists. While both groups make every effort to keep the information as up to date as possible, if you have a question about a specific state, we recommend you check with that state since the official information can reside with various state agencies. Other organizations, such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), also have responsibility for regulating radioactive materials used in PET, SPECT and Gamma Camera systems and oversee training requirements for medical physicists. To visit the website with links to each state, click here. To access the licensure map of registered physicists, click here.
Final Thoughts | Medical Physics Programs
Medical physicists are critical to ensuring quality and safety in an imaging facility. Not only does RadSite’s MIPPA Accreditation Program require a medical physicist on site to inspect all CT, MRI and nuclear medicine machines at least annually to ensure compliance with CMS requirements, but a medical physicist also brings inherent value to an organization by ensuring your diagnostic imaging department is fully compliant in regards to equipment, radiation safety and dosage levels. A medical physicist with the proper credentials and training will work closely with other medical staff and be an integral part of your diagnostic imaging team and essential to the patient care, quality and safety of your organization.