The qualified medical physicist is responsible for the conduct of all surveys of the nuclear medicine/PET equipment. The medical physicist may be assisted by properly trained individuals in obtaining data. These individuals must be approved by the medical physicist in the techniques of performing tests, the function and limitations of the imaging equipment and test instruments, the reasons for the tests, and the importance of the test results. The medical physicist must be present or in general supervision of properly trained assistants (and accessible by phone) during the surveys; review, interpret, and approve all data; and provide a report of the conclusions with his/her signature.
Data collected by an assistant for nuclear medicine and PET may be done under general supervision (if the supervisor is accessible by phone). The ACR Accreditation Committees believe that Nuclear Medicine and PET are sufficiently unique in personnel needs and execution of ACR testing to require a different set of performance conditions than the other areas. Some ACR phantoms require the use of short lived (2 hours – FDG, 6 hours – Tc-99m, 3 days – Ga-67 & Tl-201) radionuclides in areas with restricted access; often tests are performed during the day between patient scans. Many medical physicists are not comfortable drawing dose in the hot lab (many sites restrict access to the pharmaceuticals). Thus, a technologist is required for drawing the dose, making the measurements, loading the phantom and setting up the acquisition. However, the medical physicist must review and approve the data by interpreting and analyzing the images.
Effective January 1, 2010, all medical physicists providing these services must meet the following minimum criteria:
Initial Qualifications (One of These)
Certified in Medical Nuclear Physics or Radiological Physics by the American Board of Radiology (ABR); in Nuclear Medicine Physics by the American Board of Medical Physics (ABMP) or the Canadian College of Physicists in Medicine (CCPM); or in Nuclear Medicine Physics and Instrumentation by the American Board of Science in Nuclear Medicine (ABSNM)
Not Board-Certified in Required Subspecialty
All of these:
Graduate degree in medical physics, radiologic physics, physics, or other relevant physical science or engineering discipline from an accredited institution
Formal coursework in the biological sciences with at least 1 course in biology or radiation biology and 1 course in anatomy, physiology, or similar topics related to the practice of medical physics
3 years of documented experience in a clinical nuclear medicine/PET environment (as relevant)
Conducted surveys of at least 3 NM/PET units (as relevant) between January 1, 2007 and January 1, 2010
Continuing Experience Requirements (Upon Renewal)
2 NM/PET (as relevant) camera surveys in prior 24 months
Continuing Education Requirements (Upon Renewal)
One of the following:
Completes 15 CEU/CME (1/2 Cat 1) in the prior 36 months (must include credits pertinent to the accredited modality)
Additional information and clarification regarding initial qualifications, continuing experience and continuing education requirements for medical physicists is available here.
Revision History for this Article
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Article created; FAQs incorporated; No criteria changes