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Clinical Imaging Board publishes guidance to address concerns in relation to patient identification
The CIB published guidance and recommendations on patient identification, aimed at ensuring that the right patients always undergo the right diagnostic imaging procedures (scans, x-rays, etc).
By: Clinical Imaging Board
There is an expectation that staff operating x-ray machines or CT scanners follow a set procedure to ensure that patients are correctly identified when undergoing imaging which will then ensure they are exposed to the correct levels of ionising radiation.
Professor Stephen Keevil, chair of the Clinical Imaging Board and President of IPEM, said: ‘The Clinical Imaging Board has issued a set of recommendations in support of good professional practice in healthcare to safeguard patients by ensuring that those undergoing imaging procedures are always identified correctly and therefore are not placed at risk due to unnecessary exposure to ionising radiation’.
The Clinical Imaging Board is recommending that imaging departments review their practice and guidance on identifying patients to ensure that the following aspects are included.
- Confirming name, address, date of birth.
- Confirming timing, modality, site/laterality.
- Checking against original (or scanned-in) request forms.
- Checking previous imaging, where possible (at ‘justification’
- Checking the possibility of pregnancy.
- Enquiries of patients themselves.
- Arrangements for radiographers to check with referrer in cases of doubt – on the request form itself, or arising from inconsistencies arising from checks carried out.
- Selection of the correct protocol / radiographic factors / geometry / automatic exposure control (AEC) settings.
- Referrer checks of ID and previous imaging; referrer training on electronic requesting systems, including training in how to cancel requests made in error.
- Arrangements for inpatients and admitted patients concerning fitting of a wrist-band (some organisations adopt a ‘no wrist-band – no x-ray’ policy), and arrangements on the ward for patients with similar or identical names where there may be potential for confusion, and whether there are any circumstances when radiographers can rely solely on ward staff to direct them to the intended patient.
- Specific guidance for student radiographers and trainee assistant practitioners.
Established good practice requires patients to give their name, address and date of birth. In addition, the Care Quality Commission also cites examples where additional checks and enquiries have led to a reduction in errors.
Procedures are also required when patients are unable to respond actively to attempts to identify patients, for example patients with dementia or learning or sensory disabilities, those who are non-English speaking, those who are unconscious (including in the operating theatre), young children and unidentified patients involved in accidents.
You can obtain a free copy of the full document by contacting the IPEM.
Notes to editors:
The Clinical Imaging Board (CIB) is a collaboration between the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) and the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR). It was set up in 2013 to provide leadership on issues related to medical imaging.
The current Chair of the CIB is Professor Stephen Keevil, President of IPEM, Professor of Medical Physics at King’s College London and Head of Magnetic Resonance Physics at Guy's and St Thomas's NHS Foundation Trust.
The Royal College of Radiologists (charity no: 211540) has over 9,600 Fellows and members worldwide, representing the specialties of clinical oncology and clinical radiology. The College sets and maintains the standards for entry to, and practice, in the specialties of clinical radiology and clinical oncology in addition to leading and supporting practitioners throughout their careers: www.rcr.ac.uk
The Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM; charity no: 1047999) is the professional organisation for physicists, clinical and biomedical engineers and technologists working in medicine and biology. Our aim is to advance physics and engineering applied to medicine and biology for the public good. See www.ipem.ac.uk.
The Society and College of Radiographers (charity no: 272505) represents the professional interests of 28,000 health practitioners who work in diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy. See www.sor.org/
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