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Quality Assurance: Focus and Best Practices in Today’s World of Breast Imaging

Joyce Goldsboro, BA, RT(R)(M), CBPN-BI, and Lora D. Barke, DO

*Clinical Sciences Specialist for Breast Health and Imaging, Mammography Trainer, Invision Sally Jobe Breast Centers, Parker, Colorado.

Radiologist, Medical Director, Invision Sally Jobe Breast Centers, Section Chief of Breast Imaging - Fellowship Trained in Breast Imaging, Radiology Imaging Associates, Englewood, Colorado. 

Disclosures: The authors report having no significant financial or advisory relationships with corporate organizations related to this activity.

ABSTRACT

Quality Assurance (QA) is not unique to the healthcare community. It is utilized in numerous industries ranging from the manufacturing of automobile parts and metals, to the food and restaurant business. Over the past 40 years, there has been an evolution within the medical community to establish and discuss ways to perform and document QA in medical imaging centers and radiology departments. These discussions have focused on what types of quality control (QC) procedures would demonstrate excellence in image quality and how these procedures can be implemented. Over time, QA has expanded to include the quality of equipment, staff interpretation, as well as continued improvement in image quality. As the rate at which patients now undergo mammography screening has increased, it has become increasingly important that breast imaging facilities develop a comprehensive QA program that enhances all aspects of mammography, while still meeting the standards of the Medical Quality Standards Act (MQSA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR). Facility staff, managers, and clinicians should also discuss ways to evaluate and improve QA, ultimately enhancing the quality of care and patient satisfaction. With the implementation of these QC tests, QA has shifted to encompass a much broader spectrum of the processes needed to establish a better program.  This activity will address the requirements and methods for breast centers to develop more comprehensive QA programs including equipment care and the management of imaging quality through various means. The QA outcomes will also be discussed and what these outcomes may mean to various facilities.

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