Risk Management in a Nuclear Medicine Departmen

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What is risk management?

The better question to ask is, where is there risk in the work place?   How does one prevent an accident from occurring?   Are there short term and long term issues that one must look at to better assess risk?   The appropriate application of risk assessment should result in the improvement of the quality of patient care.

Now let’s think about where there is risk in a nuclear medicine.   In an attempt to answer these questions I have done a little “brainstorming” by myself and come up with the following answers.   As we go over this I want you to add to this list

  1. Whole body contouring doesn’t contour
  2. Collimator is not attached correctly
  3. Equipment not registered with the FDA
  4. There is a dark hole in my AM flood
  1. Patient falls off the imaging table
  2. Inappropriate transferring of the patient
  3. Cardiac arrest in the stress lab
  4. Patient falls in the hallway
  5. Mis-administration – Diagnostic vs. therapeutic.   What’s the difference?

Hot lab issues

  1. Sulfur colloid was a cooking in the hot lab and the vial just exploded
  2. Putting the wrong label on a radiopharmaceutical vial resulting in the mis-administration of three bone patients before it was caught
  3. Gee, I thought it was μCi that I was looking at on the dose calibrator, but it was mCi
  4. What happen to that 50 μCi57Co point source? Was it still attached to the patient when he/she left the department?

Technologist issues

  1. Your badges (hand and whole body) are above the ALARA level II this month
  2. Why didn’t you hand in your badges from last month?
  3. Acquiring data under the wrong name
  4. BioAssay is pass the trigger level
  5. Your hands are always contaminated by the end of the day
  6. I thought I had the heart on the acquisition, but gee it was gal bladder
  7. I know the PM on that equipment is past due

Physician issues

  1. Doctor never palpates the thyroid patient
  2. Doesn’t play an active role in the department
  3. Receives poor history for a study and mis-diagnosis the exam
  4. Faulty correction matrix puts holes into a liver scan
  1. Equipment failure
  2. Patient safety issues


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