JULY 2013 UPDATE
In response to x-ray user concerns about the new QA regulations that went into effect late last year, the California Department of Public Health Radiologic Health Branch (CDPH-RHB) created Frequently Asked Questions to the new regulations. As of October 2012, dental offices that utilize chemical x-ray processing must implement and perform a quality assurance assessment of their operational procedures and resulting x-ray films, using reference standards.
Effective October 3, 2012, new California regulations finalized by the California Department of Public Health Radiologic Health Branch (CDPH-RHB) require dental offices who process x-rays with traditional radiographic equipment to meet specific quality assurance standards. While these rules do not apply to digital x-rays, CDPH-RHB is looking to develop similar regulations for digital radiography.
Quality assurance is defined as planned and organized actions necessary to provide adequate confidence that dental x-ray equipment and processing will produce quality, reliable radiographs with minimal doses to patients and staff. Implementation of a quality assurance protocol consists of establishing quality control procedures for the equipment along with administrative procedures to ensure that monitoring, evaluation, and corrective actions are properly performed.
The new regulations – Title 17 California Code of Regulations Sections 30305.1–30311.1 – can accessed at CDPH-RHB’s website (http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/RadiologicHealthBranch.aspx), and require dental offices using traditional film radiography to:
- Store radiographic films in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Store, use, and maintain intensifying screens, grids, viewers, film processing equipment, and chemicals according to manufacturers’ recommendations.
- Provide a technique chart for each view commonly performed for each x-ray machine.
- Select a reference film for use in daily comparisons of dental radiographs.
- Compare clinical radiographs to the selected reference film for density, contrast, sharpness, and overall quality.
- Take corrective action when observable changes occur.
- Maintain records of the corrective actions taken,
CDPH-RHB will direct dental offices as to the appropriate corrective action to take if the entrance exposure to an adult patient for a routine intraoral bitewing exam is found by CDPH-RHB to be outside specified ranges
For our OSHA Review Subscribers: Information on how to create a reference film, as well as a template dental office x-ray quality assurance protocol can be downloaded from OSHA Review’s website (www.oshareview.com), in the restricted section under Documents. (See cover page with this issue for login instructions.)