Technologist Education Requirements Can Help Cut Repeat Scans

April 24, 2012

Cutting down on repeated nuclear and molecular imaging scans due to poor quality images could save about $1.32 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Society of Nuclear Medicine.

Cutting down on repeated nuclear and molecular imaging scans due to poor quality images could save about $1.32 billion over the next 10 years, according to a report from the Society of Nuclear Medicine.

Four percent to 7 percent of these procedures are repeated because of poor imaging, SNM said, and Medicare spends about $132 million in avoidable scans each year.

“Having to repeat a nuclear or molecular imaging scan because of the poor quality of the original image is something that shouldn’t happen and something that can be fixed,” Ann Marie Alessi, BS, CNMT, NCT, RT(N), president of SNM’s Technologist Section, said in a statement.

Ensuring that technologists have the appropriate training and education would help reduce most of these repeated scans, Alessi said. The SNM is advocating for the passage of the Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility and Excellence in Medical Imaging (CARE) bill before Congress. The measure would establish minimum education and certification standards for those who perform nuclear medicine and molecular imaging procedures.

Thirty states and the District of Columbia have certification or licensure provisions for nuclear medicine and molecular imaging technologists requiring they be certified a national credentialing organization, according to SNM.

“With new technologies upon us every year," Alessi said, "it’s critical that nuclear medicine and molecular imaging technologists are up to date on the techniques needed to appropriately perform the imaging scans."