What Do ACR Accreditations Really Mean?
Central Oregon Radiology Associates (or CORA) provides diagnostic services that are accredited by the American College of Radiology (or ACR). But what do ACR accreditations mean? And why are they important to look for when you are choosing facilities? Here’s what you need to know, and why we’re proud to be ACR accredited.
What is the ACR?
The ACR is a nonprofit medical organization devoted to the fields of radiology, oncology, and nuclear medicine. In the 1990’s, they set out to establish a set of national guidelines for radiology services. After appointing panels and chair of radiology professionals, in 1993 they developed the ACR Appropriateness Criteria (or ACRAC) and continue to update these guidelines regularly.
This is important to the medical industry for many reasons. For one, the ACRAC relies on the advice of more than 200 scientists and medical professionals to provide evidence-based guidelines for the appropriate use of imaging technology and treatment options on more than 200 conditions and more than 900 variants of those conditions. For another, the ACR provides the only accreditation service for mammography, diagnostic imaging, and radiotherapy protocols.
This is especially important as the Mammography Quality Standards Act requires all mammography facilities to meet a specified set of quality standards and to be accredited by an FDA-approved accreditation body as meeting those standards. Because early detection of breast cancer can lead to increased survival rates, Congress passed this act in 1994.
What Are ACR Accreditations?
In order for an organization to become accredited by the ACR, a facility must go through an extensive application process for each imaging service they wish to certify. Each accreditation program certifies that a facility is using approved, effective, and accurate medical equipment, that they hire only well-trained medical professionals and technicians who can verify their credentials online and keep up to date about recent developments, and that they meet quality control and quality assurance guidelines.
For example, to become accredited in ultrasounds by the ACR, physicians must be certified in radiology by an approved organization. They must continue their experience by reading more than 200 studies every three years or meeting the Maintenance of Certification (or MOC) in radiology. Facilities must provide documentation verifying that annual surveys have been performed, and medical images from their equipment must be reviewed.
Why Is ACR Accreditation Important?
Though the process is slightly different for each discipline, the overall importance of accreditation is that it ensures the best possible practices are in place so that patients get the best quality care and receive the most accurate imaging results. At CORA, we want our patients to receive not only the appropriate image study, but we aim to use high quality equipment to get the best images. That’s why CORA decided to become accredited in all of the disciplines regulated by the ACR.
CORA has our ACR accreditations with certifications in mammography, MRI, breast MRI, computed tomography, positron emission tomography, ultrasound, breast ultrasound, nuclear medicine, and stereotactic breast biopsy.