One of my favorite late night shows was Jay Leno and his segments on “Jaywalking” This segment had Jay going to a public park or boardwalk and interviewing people with common questions. The questions were generally current events, current politics, or some common knowledge such as the capital of a state, or my favorite Question: “Why did women burn their bras in the ‘60”s (meaning 1960’s)? Answer: “Why would they want to burn their bras?” Some other confounding questions would be” What is the biggest country in South America?” Answer: “Africa”. Another special question: “How many Great Lakes are there?” Answer: ”100”. And the hysterical questions can keep on going.
Even though the program was very entertaining, it never ceased to amaze me that these trivia questions about common information were answered so visibly wrong. But, I just got an education in my own profession that people are living in a vacuum. There have been some extremely hazardous accidents over the past few years involving patients during CT and MRI scans. The radiation dose accidents in CT led the FDA to activate an initiative in 2010 to increase radiation safety for patients through a training requirement. Several states have already implemented regulatory oversight for dose control and last year the Joint Commission implemented rules requiring all Joint Commission Accredited facilities to require safety training for operators of CT scanners. The CT safety training requirement deadline is July 1, 2015.
The MRI accidents involving hazardous objects in the magnetic field, hearing impairment from the gradient switching, and gadolinium contrast media toxicity also were addressed by the Joint Commission. One of the requirements for accreditation is annual safety training for operators and staff involved in MRI departments. This requirement also has a July 1 deadline.
It is approximately six weeks until the deadline, and a large percentage of the professional population still are not aware that there is a training requirement. What happens now? Panic at inspection time? It appears there will be a lot of training that happens after the deadline, but it will have to be documented on an annual basis. It has to be ongoing.
Keeping up with regulatory changes and licensure/accreditation requirements is one of the professional responsibilities of any profession. You cannot live in a vacuum. And the professional responsibility extends to not only obtaining the safety training, but implementing a safety culture where all patients protected. CT and MRI procedures are relatively new to the imaging field and there are changes every year as the technology becomes more complex. It is imperative that everyone does the safety training!