(1) Optimal radiographs. A quality assurance program results in
consistency in the production of quality diagnostic images. There are very few retakes
caused by machine failure because the machines are kept in proper adjustment.
Actually, most retakes are due to the radiology specialist's error of improper patient
positioning or improper machine settings.
(2) Cost effectiveness. There are many reports proving that the initiation of
a quality assurance program can save the radiology department a lot of money and
reduce the need for films and chemicals. One program announced an annual savings
of ,000 for these items. Another clinic had a 20 percent decrease in film purchases
even though the number of examinations increased by three percent. Other statistics
indicate that a 12-room department could realize annual savings of between ,000
The cost effectiveness of a quality assurance program is wonderful
for business, but always remember that the most important benefit of
the program is the reduced radiation exposure to the patient.
There are four elements in a quality assurance program. When they are
accomplished, you can be sure that the program is working well.
a. Standard for Quality. Each facility (department) must set its own standard.
This is because departments vary in their equipment, personnel, and patient load. For
example, a small department with limited equipment cannot produce as much as a large
department with a lot of equipment. Therefore, those who set the standards should be
as objective as possible. In addition, the quality of the radiographs should have a
variation allowance in film density. Usually, it will be plus or minus ten percent.
b. Communications. The lines of communication must be open between the
staff and the quality assurance personnel. The entire staff must cooperate to assure the
success of the program.
c. Quality Assurance Manual. Such a manual will familiarize the staff with the
proper quality assurance procedures and guide the staff in the application of these
d. Responsibilities/Administration. The facility administrators should have a
list of the personnel who are responsible for overseeing the program, performing the
tests, and ensuring that reports are accomplished. Of course, the quality assurance
personnel will always respect the local standing operating procedures (SOP).