Q & A: Achieving MRI accreditation

Q&A with Toby Edwards on the Grading Process of the American College of Radiology

Central Florida Health News recently spoke with Toby Edwards, director of radiology at Lake Wales Medical Center, to learn more about the facility’s recent MRI accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR). The accreditation will be valid for three years and shows that Lake Wales Medical Center meets the highest levels in patient safety and image quality for medical imaging. This accreditation recognition, according to Edwards, is just the start of more to come for Lake Wales Medical Center.

Central Florida Health News (CFHN): Congratulations on the recent MRI accreditation. Tell us a little bit about the process to become accredited.
Toby Edwards: The American College of Radiology seeks to determine if your equipment, staffing, credentialing, different types of scans and more are all up to national medical imaging standards. You have to submit images that prove your MRI machine meets every single technical standard and show that your medical printers are extremely accurate with images of major organs from different angles.

Central Florida Health News (CFHN): How long did the accreditation process take to be graded?
Edwards: It is a four-month process as there are over 100 different aspects of images, protocol, staffing, and accuracy of results that are graded by radiologists and physicians trained in medical imaging interpretation. They are very vigorous in their judging, particularly with MRI. But what the tests ensure is that everything we do at Lake Wales Medical Center in MRI imaging maintains the same industry standards as throughout the United States.

Central Florida Health News (CFHN): How were you contacted about your accreditation?
Edwards: We received the news of our accreditation via email. It made us feel really good and proud to be accredited! Even though we are a small town, we want to do big-city imaging at the Center and this was a step in the right direction.

Central Florida Health News (CFHN): How will this accreditation benefit the community of Lake Wales and Polk County?
Edwards: Radiology is considered the eyes of the medical profession and what we do is provide the images that provide the diagnosis. Anything that we can do that increases the doctor’s ability to diagnose quicker and locally, the better it is for the patient. We provide great MRI imaging at Lake Wales, with experienced technicians handling the imaging. We are trying to do the most up-to-date and the most important new imaging procedures that can be done with the equipment we have. We are doing all kinds of unique procedures that only bigger hospitals are doing.

Central Florida Health News (CFHN): What is the next step(s) for the Lake Wales Medical Center?
Edwards: We are starting our CCTA (Culinary Competition Tomography and Angiology), to do images of the heart, as we are only one of three facilities in the county that have those services available. We are already starting our ultrasound accreditation process, sending out our application at the beginning of this year [2013]. Before the end of this year, all of our nodalities will be done and hopefully we’ll be awarded Breast Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. After the ultrasound accreditation, then we are going to get our accreditations in nuclear medicine, X-Ray, and stereotactic breast biopsy so we can be a Breast Center of Excellence facility. We already have accreditation in mammography. All these accreditations here will be an excellent resource in the community because residents will be able to trust that the equipment we use is approved at the national level of radiology.

Central Florida Health News (CFHN): So, how did you and your staff celebrate this achievement?
Edwards: [Laughs]. We were so busy with launching our CCTA program and with the Christmas holidays, we haven’t celebrated our MRI accreditation properly yet. One of the ways we celebrated was we bought frames for every nodality of every accreditation. So, when we get our accreditations we’ll have them all in the same frames. It is all going to happen and does take lots of time, money, and effort to get accredited. But when we are done, we will be able to say that everything we do is up to the highest standards nationally. That is something as a patient I would want to know, and it sets us apart as a group of people that are saying we want to be the best we can be.

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