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MRI Quality Control Program

Yearly Performance Evaluation and Acceptance Testing

All ACR accredited Magnetic Resonance Imaging sites, receive an MRI Quality Control Manual from the ACR. The memorandum that comes with this manual states:                          

Sites involved in the accreditation program must develop a QC program that is consistent with the tests and frequencies that are listed in the ACR quality control manual by August 1, 2002.

Like many sites, you may feel overwhelmed by this 131 page manual. In general, the manual clearly defines the roles of the head radiologist, the QC technologist and MRI scientist. Together, these three (or more) individuals make up a quality control committee. The lead MRI radiologist has the responsibility for ensuring that all QC requirements are met. The Qualified medical physicist/MRI scientist is responsible for establishing baseline equipment performance and overseeing all equipment-related QC practices. The QC technologist is trained by the MRI scientist and given responsibility to conduct QC activities not assigned to the lead MRI radiologist or the MRI scientist.

As stated in the ACR QC manual:

“Achieving the full potential of MRI requires careful attention to quality assurance, both in regard to equipment performance and the execution of imaging studies.”

Chances are that your site does not now have a well-defined QC procedure beyond a very simple SNR test as recommended by your scanner manufacturer. Putting one in place will require the services of a qualified Medical Physicist or MRI Scientist. Most Medical Physicists are well trained in radiation physics but have very little training in MRI systems. As an MRI scientist, Dr. NessAiver has more than 20 years of experience in Clinical MRI, R&D and education and is fully qualified to help you meet the ACR’s requirements.

As part of a yearly QC service contract Simply Physics provides:

  1. A full system check to establish baseline system performance as described in the ACR QC Manual including:
    1. Magnetic Field Homogeneity
    2. Slice Position Accuracy
    3. Slice Thickness Accuracy
    4. All RF coils checked
    5. Inter-Slice R.F. Interference
    6. Table Motion reproduceability
    7. Soft Copy Displays (Monitors)
    8. Laser Film Output (if applicable)
  2. Determination of the optimal imaging sequence(s) and action limits for daily QC testing.
  3. Instruction of designated QC technologist on proper daily QC testing procedures.
  4. QC Notebook with all instructions and forms for one full year of QC results.

This notebook should also contain the other relevant institutional policies as outlined on page 11 of the ACR QC manual. Please note that much of what is described on this page is the responsibility of the site to define, not the MRI scientist. If your site does not currently have clearly defined policies as outlined, I will assist in their definition where feasible, providing examples from other institutions.

  1. Quarterly review of all QC documentation with a written report and graphs. I will also provide recommendations for improved QC and/or imaging as needed.
  2. Review of site protocols (up to half a day) with suggestions for improvement as feasible.
  3. Unlimited telephone support to answer any questions that may come up regarding image quality issues.
  4. Two copies (per magnet) of the textbook “All You Really Need to Know About MRI Physics”
  5. Two copies (per magnet) of Simply Physics' MRI Home Study Program approved for 12 hours of CE credit by the ASRT.

Please contact Simply Physics at (410) 982-6599 or moriel@simplyphysics.com to obtain a quote for the above services.

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© 2008 Moriel NessAiver, Ph.D. All rights reserved.