How to Minimize Service Costs Through Quality Assurance Best Practices
[How to Guide Available] Quality assurance testing on probes is a key contributor to improving the accuracy of patient diagnoses, treatment plans and ultimately patient care.
Mon Apr 16 2018
Quality assurance testing on probes is a key contributor to improving the accuracy of patient diagnoses, treatment plans and ultimately patient care. Routine – and consistent – testing is vital to ensuring that devices are performing at a level similar to when they were purchased. Although there are no standard industry guidelines, Innovatus Imaging has established a baseline for quality assurance best practices to help hospitals feel confident in their equipment quality.
First, users should optimize the equipment’s system and environment by ensuring that the equipment is connected to quality ground and cleaning the scanner’s probe ports. Disconnect the network cable from the scanner, as well as all probes except the one being tested. Adjust the room lighting to typical scanning room intensity, brightness and contrast to achieve optimal image quality on the display.
When testing probes, make sure to use a tissue mimicking phantom to properly assess image quality, and be sure to use the same model and type of phantom between each assessment.
A key component to proper quality assurance testing is consistency between testing. Tests should always be conducted using identical system settings and presets, and periodic inspections should occur at original equipment manufacturer recommended intervals, if not more often.
Acceptance testing should be performed when equipment is new and being installed, to define the baseline performance. Likewise, testing should be performed when equipment has been in storage and is being returned to service, and when image related assemblies, including probes, have been repaired or replaced to compare the results to the baseline measurements.
Finally, one of the most important parts of quality assurance testing is daily visual inspections conducted by the sonographers. Sonographers should inspect the lens, housing, strain reliefs, cable, connector and pin bank for concerns.
By identifying and addressing minor physical deficiencies, prior to them progressing to a point where they impact image quality, long term service costs can be minimized.
For a detailed description of quality assurance best practices, download Performing Ultrasound Probe Quality Assurance Assessments: A How to Guide.