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.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- REVIEW the background and history of how quality assurance became an important tool in breast imaging.
- DEFINE quality assurance as it pertains to mammography.
- DEVELOP a comprehensive quality assurance program that enhances all aspects of mammography while meeting the required standards of the Medical Quality Standards Act (MQSA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR).
- EVALUATE the evidence and documentation capabilities of a quality assurance program.
- DEMONSTRATE how a quality assurance program can enhance patient care and satisfaction.
Categories: Mammography, Quality Management