Northern Hospital of Surry County has been awarded another three-year term of accreditation in nuclear medicine imaging as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR).
According to Hospital officials, nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose or treat a variety of diseases, including many types of cancers, heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological disorders and other abnormalities within the body. Officials indicated the procedures are designed to be noninvasive, and with the exception of an IV injection, these scans are painless medical tests.
Small amounts of a radionuclide agent is injected into the patient and the agent is distributed within the body. Once injected, the agent emits tracers which are detected by special imaging devices that produce the pictures and provide the images for diagnosis by a radiologist. The NHSC Nuclear Medicine service has been accredited by the ACR in a continuous fashion since 2008.
The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety, the hospitcal said. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report they can use for continuous practice improvement.
“Achieving ACR accreditation is the best objective statement possible relating to quality and safety in our nuclear medicine department; it comes from our peers in medicine,” said NHSC Radiology Medical Director Dr. Dennis Clemens.