Author: David Stroik

Moving a piece of radiation equipment in your office may seem like a rather small undertaking. However, there is a lot more that goes into moving this type of machinery, and a number of considerations to take before you relocate any piece of radiation equipment. The best way to safely transfer x-ray equipment is to hire an x-ray service company to handle the process for you. Failing to have a professional take the helm on this type of project can result in expensive damage to your unit.

If you are considering moving your radiation equipment, no matter how far, or short, of a distance, there are a few considerations to take about the proper transfer that you should be aware of.

  • If you move your equipment, you will need an x-ray service company. While the owners of x-ray equipment can transfer and install their x-ray units on their own, they are risking damaging their equipment. Even if the machinery is moved by the owners, they are obligated to have a service company come and perform an EPE within 30 days.
  • There is paperwork involved. Whenever you transfer or replace a machine, you need to fill out the proper paperwork. For example, in Texas, the state requires a Radiation Machine Transfer/Disposal Form from the State of Health Services. This is a detailed form that must be properly filed and stored upon completion.
  • There are regulations in place regarding the disposal of old x-ray equipment. If you are replacing an existing x-ray machine with a new piece of equipment, the state has strict guidelines you must follow when it comes to disposal. There are environmental concerns associated with radiation equipment disposal, so it is essential that you read up on your state’s guidelines and follow them closely.

If you have moved or are planning on moving a piece of radiation equipment, it is important that you not only follow the state guidelines on equipment transfer but that you follow up with an annual review of your x-ray equipment. This is the best way to make sure that your radiation machinery is working as it should be and has not been damaged in any way during the transfer. These reviews are an important part of your annual x-ray machinery maintenance and doing them in accordance with your transfer is a great way to make sure everything is working properly.

If you are interested in scheduling your annual review, or if you would like a professional to come out and coordinate your machine transfer, contact the experts at iRad today.

If x-ray equipment is used often in your place of business, it is possible that some safety precautions are being overlooked, especially if technicians are not being properly trained with a clear understanding of radiation and a respect for the safety precaution protocols.

Since radiation is an invisible and odorless energy it may not be intuitive to your technicians on how to protect themselves and clients from radiation scatter. It is important that safety garments and protocols are taught as absolute required precautions. (Also, it is essential for keeping up your state’s mandated x-ray regulations.)

Make it clear to your technicians that these fundamentals should be taken seriously. It is vital that your technicians understand that proper radiation safety can virtually eliminate the risks associated with radiation exposure. Since, there is no such thing as being too safe around radiation, make sure that your technicians review the following fundamentals of safety regularly.

  • Time

The more time you spend near radiation, the higher the health risks are. Minimizing the time exposed to radiation is essential, which means rotating personnel (if possible), to minimize their amount of exposure. This is especially important for veterinary technicians who are often holding animals to acquire their x-rays. You and your team should also be using technique charts to decrease the need for re-taking x-rays.

Remember with radiation from strong sources, the dose you absorb is proportional to the duration of the exposure, so the less time you spend near a radiation source, the less likely your dose will be.

  • Shielding

Shielding is one of the most important protective measures you can take when working around radiation. It is essential to always be wearing protective gloves, aprons and thyroid shields and to check your protective equipment regularly to make sure it is in top working order. Never allow any part of your body to come in contact with the primary beam while working near x-rays.

  • Distance

Make sure you are maximizing the distance between the technician and the x-ray beam. Radiation can scatter up to six feet away, meaning even if you aren’t right next to your x-ray equipment, you can still be exposed. Nonessential workers should never be in the radiology room during exposure.

  • Wear A Dosimetry Badge

Not only make it a requirement for your technicians to wear a dosimetry badge, ensure they understand the proper protocols concerning dosimetry badges. This includes, making sure they are always wearing their assigned dosimetry badge whenever working near the x-ray equipment and ensuring there is an assigned place at work (that is not near the radiation source) for them to store their badge when they are not at work. Dosimeters should be worn at the collar level outside of the apron. For pregnant staff, ensure they have a fetal dosimeter assigned to them.

Did you know that the experts at iRad offer safety training as part of their x-ray review? Get in touch with iRad to schedule your review today 469-573-2323! If you have other questions about radiation safety, or need to order radiation safety equipment, we can help with that too.

Are you following your state’s mandated regulations for your laser equipment and safety protocols?

It is important that you are using your office’s laser equipment in compliance with your state’s health and safety office to avoid any interruptions in patient care. For example, if you are practicing in the state of Texas and own a Class 3b or Class 4 laser, then you must register that laser with the Texas Department of State Health Services and it must be inspected by a radiation inspector.

All states, have specific requirements in place that govern the use of these lasers. This may include:

 

  • Documentation: The state requires proper ownership documents and has other documentation protocols that will need to be signed and filed regularly.
  • Proper Signage: “Caution Laser” signs are required to be posted inside and outside of laser treatment rooms.
  • Laser Training: Proof of full staff training on the use of lasers is required and this includes hands-on training for any staff that will be in the room during laser treatment.
  • Safety Equipment: Laser-specific goggles must be worn at all times during laser use and must be inspected regularly for safety.
  • Safe Treatment Area(s): Proof of proper treatment areas will need to be provided. This means that the treatment areas are away from big open windows, mirrors and shiny objects.
  • Required Personnel Only: Adhering to the rule that only required personnel and the patient may be present in laser treatment rooms.
  • Laser Lock: Lasers must have a full locking feature that must be applied when the laser is not in use.

 

Basic Laser Safety Tips

As stated above, everyone in the office needs to have laser safety training. It is a requirement by the state. Here are just a few laser safety basics:

-Safe Treatment Rooms

Make sure all your staff members have an understanding that lasers are quite powerful and can reflect off windows, mirrors or shiny objects and can give off a glare or cause the beam to bounce off and can impact someone else in the room.

-Eyewear

Ensure that your staff understands eyewear protects their eyes from possible small scattering beams that pose a hazard to the eyes.

-Hands-On Laser Training

Take careful consideration that any staff that is required to be in a treatment room where a laser is being used requires hands-on training. Not only is this a state requirement, but it also helps keep yourself and patients safe during treatment.

-Annual Laser Review

Annual reviews can help make sure that your office is compliant with state requirements. Our annual reviews also ensure that your equipment is up and running properly to avoid any unnecessary potential risks and that you have created the right environment and proper training protocols for administering these treatments.

If you have questions about laser safety, contact the experts at iRad today for more information. We’ll be happy to schedule your hands-on, in-person laser review to make sure you are fully compliant with your state’s health board.

Here’s a revolutionary new option!

If you are a medical or veterinary professional who is tired of the drawn-out process of using traditional TLD Dosimetry badges for your office X-Ray procedures, iRad Consulting has a better solution.

The new Miron Bluetooth InstaDose+ badge is a safer, more reliable, and low-maintenance option that provides real-time results delivered straight to the technician via their own web portal. Rather than take the time to ship off your standard TLDs and deal with manual reports as they come in, these new versions provide faster results and are, in our opinion, a long-overdue evolution in technology to a necessary device that has been the same forever.

Here are two crucial benefits.

SAFETY

Radiation exposure information on traditional badges is only read once per quarter, with 2 to 3 weeks of mailing time mixed in. If you were to perform an X-Ray procedure today and there was an issue with equipment where the individual was exposed to an unsafe level of radiation, you may not find out for up to four months. And until that issue is identified and resolved, that technician and other staff members are being exposed to unsafe levels of radiation.

ELIMINATES ADMIN OVERHEAD

With traditional badges, RSOs are required to collect all staff badges each quarter, mail them off to the dosimeter company, re-distribute new badges to each employee and file away the badge reports for the life of the facility. If an employee from an office using older badges leaves the company, the admin will have to purchase a new badge for the new employee (which can run around $100). With the new badges, all of this overhead and expense is removed. You can simply log into your portal and transfer the badge from the departed employee to the new employee eliminating the new badge setup fee.

NOTE: These new badges are required for our medical and veterinary clients.

Call iRad Consulting today!!

iRad tracks all the latest news and industry trends related to the myriad of state-mandated X-Ray and laser compliance rules and regulations, so our clients don’t have to. We are capable of distributing new dosimetry badges to clients in all 50 states and potentially to international locations.

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions about our list of available services, please visit www.iradconsult.com, call us at (469) 573-2323, or email us at info@iradconsult.com.

SaveSave

SaveSave

Professionals who operate x-rays are putting themselves at risk of radiation exposure every time they take an x-ray if they aren’t abiding by safety standards. This exposure on a per test basis seems insignificant but when multiplied by the number of x-rays a technician performs in a year, that drastically changes the amount of exposure and risk your employees are being subjected to on a regular basis. Wearing the proper apron can dramatically reduce their risk of exposure.

It’s important that the current safety regulations are in place for anyone who operates the x-ray equipment. An individual not wearing proper gear needs to be at least 6 feet away from the x-ray tube in order to not receive a dose of radiation. The appropriate protection garments include aprons, gloves, thyroid collars and/or glasses. Dosimetry badges also need to be worn at the collar level, outside of the apron.

Lead garments and shields are an essential part of proper x-ray procedures because they protect you from unnecessary exposure to radiation. Here are just three reasons why anyone who works with x-rays needs to wear the correct protective garments.

  1. Radiation Scatters

The 6-foot rule is in place for a reason. Radiation can backscatter, so even if you are not directly next to your x-ray equipment, you can still be exposed. We see this scatter often at our veterinary clients. When they collimate down to the area of interest on the animal they are x-raying, their hands will show up on the x-rays even though their hands are not in the collimated light field. This is due to scatter. Lead gloves should always be worn when holding animals for x-rays.

  1. Lead Aprons Reduce the Radiation Dose to the Reproductive Organs

It is essential that all individuals of a reproductive age wear lead aprons when they are taking x-rays as radiation has the potential of causing germ cell mutations that can be passed on to future generations. While research suggests that the doses necessary to produce any genetic damages are very high, much higher than the radiation from an x-ray, keeping organs safe from unnecessary radiation exposure is still very important and shouldn’t be underestimated. Regardless of your age, lead aprons prevent unnecessary occupational exposure.

  1. Lead Shields Protect the Thyroid from Developing Thyroid Cancer

Lead shields can protect technicians from an excess radiation dose and keep the thyroid safe from radiation exposure. Although the risk is rather low, too much radiation can increase an individual’s chances of developing thyroid cancer.

Lead garments are essential for anyone taking x-rays, and they should be visually inspected on an annual basis to make sure these aprons are in proper working condition.

Unfortunately, many technicians today learn by example and while they are on-the-job and if they start working in an office where safety measures are not taken seriously, they may unknowingly be putting themselves at risk.

With regular training and some refresher courses for existing technicians, your office can feel confident that anyone working near x-ray machines is following the proper protocol they need to keep themselves safe. Radiation is not something to be messed around with, and while aprons can be heavy and cumbersome, they can help protect any person from potential issues down the road.

If you have any questions or need to order any aprons, contact the experts at iRad today for more information.

When it comes to meeting compliance rules and regulations regarding x-ray use, most professionals don’t have the time to verify if they are keeping up with all necessary documentation. It can be challenging to keep up with the demands of your office as well as keeping up with all of the additional paperwork and making sure your equipment is working correctly. Staff changes, overloaded desks, and busy schedules can all cause a piece of paperwork to be lost, or a required protocol to be forgotten in the shuffle.

The good news is, with an annual review, we can verify that you are not only keeping up with all of your necessary documentation and that your practice or facility is operating safely, but also keep you up to date with any state changes to compliance.

Here are three of the top reasons why you need to schedule your annual review today.

  1. Rules Change

The state rules and regulations governing x-ray equipment are continually being changed and updated. Unfortunately, most offices aren’t made aware of when these changes occur. With an annual review, you can make sure that you are compliant with all of the changes that have occurred in your state and that you not at risk of violating any of the new policies. For example, in the state of Texas, the current dental rules are currently being reviewed. The state is proposing new changes that will go into effect shortly if/when they are approved.

  1. New Staff

When new staff members join your team, it is important to ensure they are properly trained and that they are operating at a level that will allow them to work directly with the state inspector during an inspection. Procedures and policies can be a lot for any new staff member to take on. An annual review of your training protocols will allow us to set up procedures that are duplicable for your staff to properly train existing employees as well as future employees that will pass a state inspection.

  1. Keeping Your Equipment Up-to-Date

The state offers guidelines on how to maintain your X-ray and Laser equipment. If you have equipment changes, your units must be tested through Equipment Performance Evaluations (EPE’s) and your documents along with your x-ray certificate of registration will need to be amended. An annual review is a great place to start evaluating the performance of your equipment. Many offices who want to keep their new, state-of-the-art equipment running at its best or who are bringing in new equipment will typically schedule these reviews even more frequently.

Don’t Delay!

Of course, in addition to making sure that your practice is following protocols and your equipment is running correctly, an annual review can also make sure that you are ready if a state board inspector comes in unannounced and conducts an inspection. Failing to be up-to-date with all of your x-ray or laser equipment and procedures is one of the primary ways that businesses end up with hefty fines and violations.

If you are looking for more information on scheduling your annual x-ray or laser equipment review, contact the experts at iRad to request a quote or schedule a date. Give us a call!

The title of this blog may seem obvious to many of our medical and dental clients who frequently use X-Ray and Laser equipment to treat their patients. Still, your friendly compliance experts at iRad Consulting are noticing more and more where office personnel is unknowingly getting their company into hot water by testing their equipment on non-patients.

We would like to take this moment to inform our clients and staff that they should not take pictures of anyone other than patients. Doing so is a Level One violation with the state (the highest level of violations), and it comes with a $4,000 fine.

This topic came up recently when we heard of some installers of dental units asking staff to have their family members to come in to practice taking X-rays. Obviously, the family members are not coming in as patients. We also see this happen in a number of other situations, including:

o    Staff demonstrating the use of the equipment on each other during training sessions

o    Staff taking pictures of their own finger for the quality assurance protocol

o    Veterinarians taking pictures of staff (not pets) who are going to orthopedic doctors

What’s the harm in that, right? After all, you have to use something tangible to test your equipment.

The Department of State Health Services is very clear on this matter. Below is an excerpt for your reference:

Prohibited Acts:

  • 289.232(i)(2)(B) THE TEXT ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PAGE THE RULE LANGUAGE ON THE LEFT SIDE IS THE OFFICIAL ADOPTED RULE LANGUAGE AS OF THE PAGE CONTROLS ANY ISSUE PUBLISHED IN THE TEXAS ADMINISTRATIVE CODE (TAC). REGARDING COMPLIANCE WITH THE RULES. 232-49 (September 2004) (B) Individuals shall not be exposed to the useful beam except for healing arts purposes and unless such exposure has been authorized by a dentist. This provision specifically prohibits deliberate exposure for the following purposes: (i) exposure of an individual for training, demonstration, or other non-healing arts purposes.

If staff or parents are coming in as legitimate patients, it is completely acceptable to X-ray them. In any other circumstance, it is a violation. If installers are coming to your facility and need to test objects, they should use phantom objects, not people. Examples of phantom objects include everything from a stapler to a pen, cell phone, TV remote control or even an extracted tooth.

If you or your staff have any more questions regarding this or any other compliance matter, please give iRad Consulting a call. We help offices stay in compliance with state X-ray rules and regulations. We also track all the latest news and industry trends, so our clients don’t have to.

Please visit www.iradconsult.com, call us at (469) 573-2323, or email us at info@iradconsult.com

Our team at iRad Consulting tracks all the latest news and industry trends related to the myriad of state-mandated X-Ray and laser compliance rules and regulations. And why, you may ask? So our clients don’t have to.

 

Whether it’s keeping tabs on changes in regulations, correcting existing violations for facilities that already have formal compliance issues, or providing guidance by taking the time to organize all radiation records on-site, our team has our clients covered from A to Z.

 

Below is a list of reminders, new iRad services to consider, and important compliance items to keep you informed. Over the next several blogs, we will dive into several of these in more detail.

 

  • iRad is excited to announce we now offer X-Ray Equipment Performance Evaluations for our dental and veterinary clients. These EPEs are required by the state, so call us today to schedule yours.

 

  • We now have a solution for professionals who are tired of dealing with traditional TLD Dosimeters. Bluetooth Instadose Dosimeters are a low-maintenance option that allows your staff to download necessary reports to an easy-to-use portal rather than take the time to ship off your standard TLDs and deal with manual reports as they come in. It is also helpful when you have staff changes. NOTE: This is required for our medical and veterinary clients.

 

  • A friendly reminder to check that all current staff has been monitored with dosimeters.

 

  • Remember that taking an X-Ray of anyone other than patients is considered a Level One violation. For example, at a dental facility, there should not be any images on your system of human fingers or staff (if they have not come in as a patient). This is the highest violation level, and you will be subject to fines.

 

  • Please contact us if you receive a Remote Inspection from the state. We can help with these. If your Remote Inspection paperwork is not sent back to the state by the deadline listed, they will send a second notice. If they do not receive it by the date on the second notice, they will send an inspector to your facility for a surprise inspection.

 

  • If you have any new X-Ray equipment changes, your binder will need to be updated with all the required documentation and your X-Ray certificate of registration will need to be amended.

 

  • Friendly reminder: If you chose not to have us visit your facility for an annual review, we would not be able to keep your facility up to date and ready for a state inspection.

 

 

Texas Clients Only

 

  • QA/QC protocols now need to be performed every 3 months. If you are an existing client, we will be amending this protocol at your next annual audit review.

 

  • QA/QC now needs to be set up for both intraoral units and pano units, regardless if they process through the same digital software system. Call us today to determine if your protocol needs to implement testing your pano units.

 

  • DSHS is proposing new changes to the dental rules. You may have received an email allowing you to voice your opinion on the proposed changes. We will send out a blog when the new dental rules are finalized.

 

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions about our list of available services, please visit www.iradconsult.com, call us at (469) 573-2323, or email us at info@iradconsult.com. Below are a few upcoming speaker events iRad has scheduled if anyone is interested in attending.

 

Schedule of Upcoming Events

MWI Event for Veterinarians – March 8 in Houston

Southwest Dental Conference – September 6 and 7 at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Center in Dallas

SaveSave

Welcome to our blog. This is where you can find educational topics and everything newsworthy about iRad Consulting Inc., which offers outsourced radiation compliance services for any facility with X-Ray or laser equipment.

If you had asked us a month ago what a blog is and how to best use it to provide value-added information to readers, we may have stared at you like a deer in headlights. Let’s just say we are fast learners, and now we are cooking up topics faster than we can write them down.

This first post is an introduction, and we’re particularly excited because it coincides with the launch of our new-look website. We encourage you to visit the iRad Consulting website to learn about our team – which includes former state X-Ray inspectors – the services we provide, why we do what we do, and our informative blog topics.

Here’s what you can look forward to by regularly reading the iRad Consulting Blog:

  • We will share best practices you need to know to be prepared when state inspection time rolls around. This will not be on a generic scale, either. Each industry or practice area is different and we are unique in that we can speak directly to each one – our clients range from medical professionals to those that provide industrial, machinery, and manufacturing services – and the information that applies best to your business in terms of maintaining compliance.
  • We will share with you news and releases relating to iRad Consulting. Some will be planned out ahead of time, others will happen along the way as we take part in various events, conferences and expos, and speaking engagements.
  • We are constantly reading up on changes in state rules and regulations so that we can have our clients’ backs while they focus on caring for their patients. Look to this blog as we post links to compliance articles or other items trending in the world today. We will cut through the legalese to break everything down into terms you can understand.
  • You will learn more on our goals to expand iRad Consulting, which among other things includes becoming more broadly known as a trusted “brand” among medical professionals as well as raising awareness within the consumer population on the importance of ensuring providers of radiation services are keenly focused on safety protocols.
  • You’ll learn more about our team, and occasionally we’d like to provide a peak behind our curtains and provide insights into conversation topics we have with our clients across all industries (Dental, Medical, Veterinary, Industrial) throughout the United States.

This is just a sampling of what to look forward to. Thank you so much for reading the first entry to what we hope will be an entertaining and informative blog week after week.

If you need iRad Consulting for any of your state X-Ray compliance needs, give us a call at 940-453-2876.

[x_share title=”Share this Post” facebook=”true” twitter=”true” google_plus=”true” linkedin=”true”]