2023 Quarter 1
Institutional Accreditation in Radiation Oncology Supports Certification
Cancers requiring radiation therapy are a troubling reality of the modern age, impacting countless individuals and families. When seeking radiation treatment, these individuals and families want to be assured that they will receive care from trained and capable medical professionals in accredited facilities that operate in accordance with industry standards and best practices. Thus, for institutions seeking the gold standard in accreditation through ACR, APEx, or ACRO, MDCB certification of dosimetry personnel is required.
For many patients and families, these credentials will often be a determining factor in where they seek treatment during what is, for many, the most difficult times of their lives.
Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board (MDCB) Certification
Dosimetrists comprise a core component of any radiation oncology team and can further distinguish their acumen and competency by obtaining MDCB certification. The reasons dosimetrists should seek this certification are many and varied. An MDCB certification helps dosimetrists demonstrate that they are keeping in step with the rapidly evolving technology surrounding radiation oncology and the evolution of the industry itself. Further, MDCB certification surpasses the limitations of academic degrees by imparting and showcasing any given dosimetrist’s industry-specific knowledge. Not only is MDCB certification indicative of a dosimetrist who has chosen to advance their knowledge and keep current in their field, this certification is also in compliance with the three critical institutional accreditations highlighted below.
American College of Radiology (ACR) Accreditation
The intricacies and complexities of radiation oncology cannot be overstated. In developing and issuing its accreditation, the ACR has taken account of every aspect of radiation therapy—from personnel to patient education. This comprehensive approach to facility and personnel review and evaluation lends to the legitimacy of an ACR accreditation and helps to foster confidence in the facility receiving accreditation. To even be considered for ACR accreditation, a radiation oncology facility must provide evidence that it possesses specific core components and capabilities that include: a megavoltage radiation therapy delivery system, a computer-based treatment-planning system, a treatment management system, and access to simulation equipment. Any facility awarded ACR accreditation must also have and utilize a variety of capabilities meant to ensure patient safety. ACR accreditation requires that dosimetrists fulfill state licensing requirements and be certified or eligible for certification in medical dosimetry by the MDCB.
American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) APEx Accreditation
Another prominent radiation oncology facility credential is ASTRO’s APEx (Accreditation program for excellence), an accreditation system developed by radiation oncology professionals that recognizes facilities that deliver safe, high-quality care to their patients. Through a rigorous evaluation process—that can take place over three or four-year cycles—an APEx certification serves as a mark of excellence that can distinguish any given radiation oncology practice that secures it while simultaneously affording patients, caregivers, and family members increased confidence that the APEx accredited facility they have chosen values patient safety above all else. Current APEx accreditation standards require that dosimetrists be certified or eligible for certification in medical dosimetry by the MDCB.
American College of Radiation (ACRO) Accreditation
Much like ACR, ACRO’s accreditation, places a great emphasis on process and the consistency therein. To receive ACRO accreditation a given practice must demonstrate adherence to a specific set of procedures, some of which include treatment planning, simulation, and dose calculation. Meeting these requirements, in addition to many more criteria, will put a practice on its way to joining the other almost 300 practices, who have received ACRO accreditation to date. ACRO requires medical dosimetrists be certified by the MDCB.
Consistency Across the Board
It is important to note that the above-referenced accreditations align in recognizing a high standard of knowledge and education to measur
e competence in a standardized and comprehensive way. Patient safety and a consistent quality of care are of paramount importance to the certifying and accrediting organizations cited. Interested dosimetrists should also take note that MDCB Certification is required by ACR, ACRO, and ASTRO.