QA/QC For Dental X-Ray Machines

Making A Successful QA/QC For Dental X-Ray Machines In 2022

QA/QC For Dental X-Ray Machines

Quality Assurance focuses on finding and analyzing existing problems, while Quality Control (QC) — also called Quality Improvement (QI) — is all about fixing the processes and systems that typically cause those problems.

Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) protocols have been necessary for your practice’s film dental X-ray machines — now that most machines are being replaced by CBCT and digital units, most states have already implemented new QA/QC guidelines. The term “quality control” (QC) is referring to the daily calibration of your instruments and equipment.

According to Joseph Juran, considered by many to be the father of many of the quality management techniques, QC consists of three steps:

  • Evaluate actual performance.
  • Compare actual performance to quality goals or standards.
  • Act on the differences.

Why Are Routine QC Tests For Radiation Necessary?

It is important to properly perform tests for image quality and safety purposes during the routine operation of your dental x-ray units. Having a quality control (QC) program ensures that your patients are not receiving too much radiation during their examination.

A QC program also ensures that your dental x-ray imaging equipment is working and confirms that your machine is performing as per the manufacturer’s specifications and regulatory requirements.

What Does A Successful Radiation QA/QC Program Involve?

The output and radiation your machine puts out are measured by an Equipment Performance Evaluation (EPE) and/or Survey based on your state’s requirements and makes sure you’re meeting your manufacturer’s specifications. The QA/QC protocols run during installation give you the baseline values that you need for quality images and minimal radiation exposure, as well as required ongoing periodic testing. These numbers will be used to compare future tests to ensure your machine is in proper working order.

Baseline values and parts you track include:

  • Routine testing and maintenance.
  • Understanding and following standard imaging protocols.
  • Radiation dose estimates for your patients and staff.
  • Staff training.
  • Tracking compliance with policies and procedures.

How Do I Complete My Radiation QA/QC In 2022?

Without the right tools in place, inefficiencies impact the effectiveness of your quality audit. Giving you an ultimate end result of gathering tons of paperwork — and less time actually making improvements. Even with around-the-clock quality inspections, some issues can slip through the cracks. Where do you begin? Here are the first 5 things to consider:

  • Radiation Inspection Checklist
  • Dosimetry Requirements
  • Image Quality Requirements
  • Radiation Shielding Requirements
  • Requirements for Record Retention

According to the CDC, a QA/QC program consists of tests that are repeated on a regular schedule and done in a way that is consistent with the way the previous test was performed.  For example, an image quality test should be repeated with the same phantom in the same position with the same technique factors each time.

It is a serious violation to allow a patient, employee, or contractor to be exposed as a test image subject.  All dental radiographs on living humans must be for healing arts purposes only and taken under the order of a licensed dentist.

Need help completing your QA/QC for 2022? Done Desk’s 2022 Compliance Calendar has got your back! Get a monthly to-do list and guides to help you with compliance tasks dropped directly in your inbox all year long.

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