Services

Acceptance Testing

New York and many other states require that new imaging equipment be tested before first use on patients. This is also recommended in the ACR Standard of Practice and in their Accreditation programs. UMP has extensive experience providing acceptance testing for new imaging equipment, including radiographic and fluoroscopic X-ray, C-arms, CT units, Nuclear Medicine cameras, PET and PET/CT units, MR units, mammography equipment, CR readers and PACS workstations.

Through our thorough testing and measurements, we have been able to help clients verify that their equipment meets manufacturer specifications and regulatory requirements, as well as identify any problem areas that will need to be addressed to ensure that their substantial investment in new equipment is maximized.

Most of our clients have felt that the cost of acceptance testing by an independent, experienced physics group is extremely worthwhile when compared with the overall cost of the new imaging equipment. They are especially grateful on those occasions when we have discovered significant problems that require correction before patient imaging begins (and before full payment is made).

We believe acceptance testing by an independent physics group such as ours is akin to having your car or house inspected by an independent party prior to purchase. It’s a relatively small investment for a fairly complex piece of imaging equipment. In past acceptance testing for other clients, we have identified issues that had required corrective action by the vendor. We have built excellent collaborative relationships with local service engineers, because we work together to ensure your imaging equipment works at its optimum performance.

Q&A

Are there any requirements for acceptance testing?

Some states, like New York, require acceptance testing of all medical diagnostic equipment before first use on patients. “Diagnostic equipment,” includes Nuclear Imaging Systems (SPECT and PET), CR readers and plates, and PACS workstation displays. This clarifies the common misconception that acceptance testing is only required for x-ray producing equipment.

 
Click Here for the link to the NYS regulation for Acceptance Testing.

Can acceptance testing be done by the manufacturer?

In New York State, the Medical Physics Licensure Law (Article 166 of the Education Law) specifies that acceptance testing is one of the practices that may only be performed by a licensed medical physicist. In section 8702, under the “definition of the practice of medical physics” that “Acceptance testing” is listed within the scope of practice.

Note that the education law is not typically enforced by NYSDOH inspectors. The Medical Physics licensure law does not restrict unlicensed persons from acquiring data, but rather requires oversight from a licensed medical physicist.

The bottom line is that, in New York State, Part 16 (Health Law) says that all diagnostic imaging equipment must be acceptance tested, and Article 166 (Education Law) specifies that acceptance testing must be performed by a licensed medical physicist.

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ACR and IAC Accreditation Assistance

Each year, more imaging departments at hospitals and private centers are seeking to join others who have achieved accreditation by the American College of Radiology and/or IAC (ICANL, ICACTL, etc.) in various imaging modalities. UMP has developed substantial expertise assisting clients through the accreditation process by providing physics support for mammography, CT, MR, and Nuclear Medicine programs.

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Shielding Design

Protection of employees, patients, and the general public from primary, scattered, and leakage radiation is the primary goal of shielding design. UMP has provided shielding recommendations for hundreds of diagnostic installations, including radiographic, fluoroscopic, CT, nuclear medicine, PET, and PET-CT imaging equipment. We use the latest methodologies described in NCRP 147, to provide you with accurate, concise reports. We also have substantial experience with providing the paperwork required for Certificate of Need (CON) projects.

We strive to balance our main objectives of safety and regulatory compliance with cost and prudent design on every job. UMP can work directly with the architectural or construction firm, as needed and can provide expert advice on layout and other design features. We also offer quick turn around times for rush projects (3-day is available for single room projects).

Shielding design has really changed in the past 30 years. It has always been prudent to perform a shielding design for a new or renovated facility. With the latest changes in CT technology, we find that most existing CT scanner rooms need additional shielding to safely accommodate the new multi-detector CT scanners and their greatly increased mAs workloads. Because many facilities cannot verify the amount of existing lead in x-ray rooms, we are able to make an on-site determination of the existing lead, helping to maintain safety and minimize unnecessary expense.

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Consulting – Regulatory, Quality Control, Technology

Medical imaging is becoming anything but simpler. Not only is the technology becoming increasingly complex, there are a multitude of regulatory requirements and quality control tests that change continually. We pride ourselves in providing prompt, professional advice on regulatory, quality, and technology issues for all our clients. Your answer is just a short phone call or email away. When necessary, UMP consults with a network of colleagues in the regulatory, manufacturing, and physics communities.

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Procedures & Manuals

Most regulators and accreditation organizations (such as JCAHO) require imaging departments to have current written procedures that document routine department activities. Written procedures also help to ensure all affected employees are aware of expected practices. UMP has written concise, straight-forward procedures and manuals for numerous clients, and can tailor documents to fit most any format.

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Fetal Dose Estimates

When a pregnant patient is inadvertently exposed to diagnostic medical radiation, it is important to know the dose to the fetus. Based on imaging parameters provided by the client, UMP can provide an estimate of the fetal dose from diagnostic X-ray, CT, PET, or nuclear medicine procedures, and compare the dose to acceptable guidelines.

Click Here for an X-ray Fetal Dose Estimation worksheet.

Click Here for a CT Fetal Dose Estimation worksheet.

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Compliance Assessments - Nuclear Medicine & PET

Nuclear medicine and PET departments are required by their radioactive material license to commit to a substantial list of activities, including camera quality control, survey meter calibrations, proper radioactive material handling, and many more. UMP has performed hundreds of on-site assessments to help clients ensure all regulatory commitments are being met. Our assessors have direct experience as Nuclear Medicine Technologists and state inspectors.

Besides assessments, specific Nuclear Medicine/PET services provided by UMP include:

  • Dose calibrator testing (accuracy, linearity, constancy, geometry)
  • Calculations for spilled gas clearance times and worker dose from gases and aerosols
  • Well counter Chi square, efficiency and MDA calculations
  • Radiation safety training
  • Shielding
  • Acceptance testing
  • Physicists reports for ACR accreditation
  • Radiation Safety Committee
  • Personnel Dosimetry Analysis
  • Procedures and Manuals

Q&A

How often should Nuclear Medicine/PET Compliance Assessments be done?

Some clients prefer annual or semi-annual compliance assessments, but most are on a quarterly schedule, which can provide direct input for quarterly Radiation Safety Committee meetings.

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Radiation Safety Committee Meetings

Some states require radioactive material licensees to conduct quarterly radiation safety committee meetings to discuss and resolve issues. UMP serves as the medical physics consultant for numerous clients at their RSC meetings. Because our staff keeps current with the most current regulatory and technical news, we provide valuable insight to resolve issues that may arise. We know what problems inspectors are citing at other facilities and we are able to help our clients avoid the same pitfalls.

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Radioactive Material License Support

Users of radioactive materials must be licensed by their state regulators or the NRC. If the license application is too broad, or commits the licensee to overly-ambitious procedures, problems may be encountered later in the form of violations. A well-written license application will help to ensure that commitments can be met. UMP personnel have helped clients write clear, concise license applications that provide the proper level of commitment for their facility. We can also assist with license amendment requests and other regulatory matters.

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Personnel Dosimetry Analysis and ALARA Program

Whether film badges, TLD or OSL badges are used, management of personal monitoring systems and records are very important from a safety, regulatory and legal standpoint. UMP has helped clients with their dosimetry program in several ways:
  • Review of dosimetry reports and generation of ALARA reports (Investigational Levels I and II)
  • Investigations of high doses with follow-up regulatory support, if warranted
  • Determination of which employees require a dosimeter by reviewing past histories and potential for exposures
  • Reviewing the latest available client records online via the vendors website (e.g., Landauer, Global Dosimetry)

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Radiation Safety Training

Radiation safety training is integral for technologists, physicians, nurses, and others who may be exposed to radiation in the course of their work. Most regulators require initial radiation safety training for occupationally exposed workers, and an annual or periodic refresher.

UMP has provided hundreds of radiation safety presentations to all levels of staff. Our experienced instructors, who themselves regularly attend professional meetings and seminars, ensure that the most current information is provided, and can tailor courses to fit the needs of your facility. Contact us for more information.

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Laser Safety

Do you have concerns about the safety of your employees who use lasers? Are you aware that some states regulate lasers? Are you looking for laser safety advice, laser safety inspections, laser safety training, or guidance on proper protective eyewear? UMP can assist by providing guidance from a Certified Laser Safety Officer, and help ensure your employees have been provided with the proper information and work environment in which to work safely. We can:
  • Help you design laser labs and system components to maximize safety
  • Provide interactive laser safety instruction tailored to meet the specific needs of participants
  • Inspect laser systems, identify safety gaps, and help develop practical, often low-cost solutions
  • Provide guidance on laser safety eyewear, including optical density calculations
  • Advise on compliance with State regulations

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 Annual/Periodic Testing

Radiographic and Fluoroscopic Equipment Evaluation

Periodic performance evaluations are performed to insure the equipment is performing to manufacturer’s specifications essential for optimal image quality results. The performance tests, set by regulatory agencies, include: collimation, kVp accuracy, radiographic timer, mR/mAs linearity, tomography, fluoroscopic image quality, AEC performance, exposure switch, interlocks, half value layer, fluoroscopic timer, fluoroscopic exposure rates, and SID indicator accuracy.

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Computed Tomography (CT)

Acceptance and annual surveys requirements are performed according to regulatory and manufacturer specification. These tests include: dose profile width, spatial resolution, low-contrast detectability, and patient dose. Since 2005, UMP has performed all routine CT testing using the ACR CT Accreditation program phantom and imaging standards. Whether accredited or not, our clients know how their systems perform against the ACR’s widely accepted benchmarks of image quality and dose.

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Mammography

Since the ACR initiated its Mammography Accreditation Program in 1987, and subsequently President George H.W. Bush signed the Mammography Quality Standards Act into law in 1992, UMP has developed a passion and an expertise for providing medical physics services to mammography facilities. We have more than 20 years of experience assessing mammography systems, including screen-film, DR and CR digital mammography, of nearly every manufacturer. We survey well over 100 mammography facilities each year – from large university and private practice centers to small hospitals and multi-specialty clinics. To meet MQSA standards, UMP incorporates the following tests: collimation assessment, system resolution, AEC assessment, screen speed uniformity. Artifact evaluation, image quality evaluation, kVp, HVL, breast entrance exposure, average glandular dose, radiation output rates. compression evaluation, viewbox luminance, and QC program review.

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Magnetic Resonance (MR)

UMP has been performing MR Medical Physics Surveys for about 10 years when we purchased our first ACR MR Accreditation Program (MRAP) phantom. Though not required by NYSDOH (since no ionizing radiation is used), our clients have asked us to perform this service in increasing numbers over the past few years.

In 2005, the ACR MRAP has required that copies of the annual medical physics survey be submitted with accreditation materials for each scanner. Until 2005, the ACR would accept MRAP applications without this documentation, but no longer according to Theresa Branham, MRAP Manager at ACR.

The ACR MRAP Site Instructions recommend that facilities utilize their medical physicist to assist with the phantom imaging (acquisition and quantitative analysis) before these images are submitted to ACR. We have performed this service for many clients over the years, and have assisted with accreditation of more than a dozen MR scanners in 2007.

Since the ACR issued their newest White Paper on MR Safety in June 2007, UMP has provided many facilities (and their architects and planners) with guidance in design of new MR scanning suites and recommendations for safety improvement for existing suites. UMP is ready to help you to assure image quality, safety and assist with MR Accreditation.

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Computed Radiography (CR) – PACS Monitors

CR systems are tested for image quality and dose calibration. Parameters routinely evaluated by UMP include: image plate uniformity, dark noise, signal response for linearity, calibration and beam quality, laser beam function, high-contrast resolution, distortion, and throughput.

Image workstation displays are monitored annually for proper brightness and contrast. Improperly calibrated displays can obscure subtle abnormalities.

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Radiation Safety / Health Physics

In addition to traditional medical physics support, UMP can provide assistance with a number of other health physics services, including:
  • Unsealed radioactive material assessments (Biomedical Research Labs using H-3, C-14 and other isotopes)
  • Laboratory and Hot Lab decommissioning
  • Wipe testing for removable contamination
  • Sealed Source leak tests
  • Support for waste monitors located in hospitals – testing, placement, etc.
  • Radiation monitoring (film badge/TLD/OSL) and other dosimetry support
  • Safety assessments for Analytical and Industrial X-ray units (X-ray Diffraction, faxitrons, X-ray curing units, X-ray Fluorescence, etc.)
  • Nuclear Gauge safety assessments
  • Radioactive waste management
  • DOT requirements for transportation of radioactive material
  • Survey meter selection
  • Radiation Safety Training

Click Here for Radiation Safety Training Program License Agreement


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Entrance Skin Exposure Analysis/Entrance Skin Exposure Rates

ESE is the measurement of radiation output at the point of skin entry for common X-ray examinations. Based on our measured data and clinical techniques, we periodically report ESE and ESER, comparing the results with regulatory or advisory standards. Most importantly, we advise our clients about whether or not any changes should be made to provide optimized imaging at ALARA dose levels. With CR and DR imaging, this has become even more critical, since images obtained with too little or too much radiation do not appear light or dark.

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Contact us today
585-924-0350