Safety First, Every Day

The VCU Department of Radiology is a leader in medical imaging safety and compliance. Its Clinical Radiation Safety Office has a strong and comprehensive safety program unmatched anywhere in the area.

Overview

A Leader in Clinical Radiation Safety and Medical Imaging Safety and Compliance

The VCU Department of Radiology places a strong emphasis not only on quality and expertise of medical imaging services, but also on safety, including radiation safety. The commitment to definitive processes and clear protocols allows us to produce quality images while minimizing the risk of exposure to both staff and patients from medical imaging procedures. Thus, the VCU Department of Radiology launched the Clinical Radiation Safety Office with qualified medical imaging safety professionals and educators.

The Department has become a leader in medical imaging safety with a comprehensive program unmatched anywhere in the area. In fact, we are one of the few radiology departments in the United States to have an expert team entirely dedicated to medical imaging safety in computed tomography (CT), fluoroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, ultrasound and x-ray. 

Medical imaging provides early and accurate diagnosis of disease, improved treatment planning, and image-guided therapies that help save lives every day. Conventional x-rays, CT, fluoroscopy, mammography and nuclear medicine are examples of studies which involve the use of ionizing radiation. Ultrasound and MRI do not involve the use of ionizing radiation. For these reasons, medical imaging safety plays a major role in education, research and patient care.

The Clinical Radiation Safety Office performs radiation safety and compliance observations quarterly for 56 locations throughout the VCU Health System. Radiation safety observation scores are reported to the Clinical Radiation Safety Committee (CRSC). Using the quarterly reports, training needs are identified and communicated to department managers.

The CRSC creates best practices for the use of ionizing radiation equipment in an academic medical center setting. Additionally, the Committee is responsible for meeting the Joint Commission compliance requirements and creating a safe environment for staff, patients and visitors. 

The VCU Department of Radiology safety program includes:

The principle of ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable)

The Clinical Radiation Safety Office uses the “ALARA” (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle. Employing this principle ensures radiologists and nuclear medicine physicians provide an accurate test with the least amount of radiation exposure to the patient.

ALARA is a regulatory requirement that dictates reasonable methods are used to reduce radiation exposure for optimal patient and staff safety. To accomplish this, three basic protective measures are used:

  • Increase distance from radiation source
  • Reduce radiation exposure time
  • Wear protective, radiation shielding garments

The Difference is Experience

The medical imaging safety and compliance physicists possess 97 years of experience, which is applied to continuous improvement and innovation in education. The office uses a proprietary web-based app to foster access and promote continuous learning. Users of the app are coached through medical imaging safety and compliance observations in an effort to standardize behavioral expectations. The application metrics are analyzed to tailor training to specific departments and environments.

Fluoroscopy Safety Workshops

The Clinical Radiation Safety Office hosts annual fluoroscopy workshops that focus on training incoming residents, fellows and Graduate Medical Education (GME) interns. The workshops incorporate one hour of didactic training and one hour of hands-on training.

Ultrasound Best Practices

The Medical Imaging Safety and Compliance Office is responsible for identifying and creating best practices for ultrasound services conducted throughout the VCU Health System. The Office provides leadership, coordination and oversight to achieve consistent ultrasound policies and procedures. Priorities include:

  • Equipment procurement consults
  • Process improvements for exam orders, image storage, reporting and billing.   
  • Infection control practice and policy consults
  • Support equipment maintenance and repair policies
  • Develop training and standardize procedures
  • Provider privileges and credentials consults
  • Develop ultrasound operator quality assurance program
  • Evaluate metrics and analyze trends for continuous improvement process

Clinical Radiation Safety Office Faculty

Pei-Jan Paul Lin, Ph.D.

Pei-Jan Paul Lin, Ph.D.

Professor

Pei-Jan Paul Lin, Ph.D.

Pei-Jan Paul Lin, Ph.D.

Professor

Radiology

Professor
Chair, Division of Diagnostic Medical Physics
Chief Medical Physicist, VCU Health

Phone: (804) 828-3497

Fax: 804-828-6577

Email: pei-jan.lin@vcuhealth.org

Address/Location:
Ambulatory Care Center, Room B021A

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Ann S. Fulcher, M.D., FACR, FSAR

Ann S. Fulcher, M.D., FACR, FSAR

Professor and Chair, Department of Radiology

Ann S. Fulcher, M.D., FACR, FSAR

Ann S. Fulcher, M.D., FACR, FSAR

Professor and Chair, Department of Radiology

Radiology

Professor (Tenured) and Chair, Department of Radiology
Director, Abdominal Imaging
Director, Enterprise Wide Radiation Safety Initiative

Phone: (804) 828-6600

Fax: (804) 828-6129

Email: ann.fulcher@vcuhealth.org

Address/Location:
West Hospital, Room 2-013

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