Ultrasound Quality Assurance is a mandatory activity. It relies on the combined efforts of different people and disciplines, that come together like pieces in a jigsaw.
Your Ultrasound QA Programme: Who should be doing what?
Multi-Medix was formed with a principal aim – to increase the uptake of Ultrasound Quality Assurance (QA) for the safety of patients. As part of our training courses, we like to ask our delegates what they think QA is what part they think they have to play to implementing and maintaining a QA Programme. There are some common myths that are heard. For instance
“Don’t Biomedical Engineers look after all of ultrasound QA?”
“QA is a user activity”
“I have heard of IPEM 102 and this means that Medical Physics should be running the ultrasound QA programme. It is a physics test”
“We have an annual maintenance check. This means we have a QA programme”
“I can tell whilst scanning picture when there is something wrong with the probe or system”
None of these statements are true. All the parties mentioned above and more have role to play in QA Programme. It cannot be given to one person or department, It relies on coordination between various departments.
Your Ultrasound QA Programme: Where do you fit in?
Ultrasound QA Programme is made of four activities, all done by different parties, all important to create a robust QA Programme.
The top of the “jigsaw” shows the role of ultrasound users and assistants.
- Only around 7% of faults with ultrasound equipment are found during clinical use i.e. it is not possible to tell, simply from scanning, that your probe is working correctly
- There are daily and monthly checks – most of them only taking minutes to do. The specific tasks are described in the Diagnostic Ultrasound QA Manual and videos that can be found on the Multi-Medix Online Knowledge Portal. Or you can book onto one our QA courses such as Probe Care Essentials.
- These checks must be recorded and any anomalies reported & followed up Waiting for the annual planned maintenance checks may mean using faulty equipment for months. All Multi-Medix clients have a helpline they can call if they spot anything that does not look right in their regular checks.
The bottom of the “jigsaw” demonstrates the role of specialist testing done by Biomedical Engineers, Medical Physicists or Independent Providers such as Multi-Medix.
- “Baselining” the system. This provides the benchmark that all the user checks above measure against and future annual testing will measure against.
- All new systems need to be acceptance tested.
- Annually the QA system should be reviewed by an independent party to assess its effectiveness and suggest improvements.
Multi-Medix has helped many hospitals and clinics set up effective QA Programmes either by providing training that helps to fill knowledge gaps in an organisation’s “jigsaw”. Or providing independent specialist testing and audit services.
We will be at stand 14 at BMUS Conference from December 6th – 9th 2022. Please drop by and ask us any questions on QA – we look forward to seeing you.