Do you know what it takes to establish a nuclear lab in your office? If you are considering purchasing a nuclear gamma camera or offering nuclear imaging services in your office, be aware that there is a lot more to the process than just researching and buying a new camera. You must ensure that you meet all of the regulatory and safety requirements.
Nuclear Imaging Requirements
There are a number of requirements for offering nuclear imaging services. It takes a lot of time, a substantial financial investment, and the continual management of a radiation safety program. First, you must obtain a radioactive materials license (RML). Licensing is gained through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) or the applicable state agency. Generally, you must hire a physicist to assist with the application process. There is a licensing fee and ongoing cost for quarterly audits by a physicist. Once you obtain a license, you are held responsible by the agency that issued the license. You must establish a Radiation Safety Committee, holding ongoing meetings and manage all documentation for safety audits as well as NRC or State Inspections. RML holders are responsible for meeting the safety standards of the applicable regulations. Violations can result in citations as well as potentially substantial fines.
Digirad Imaging Services
If you choose to use Diagnostic Services from Digirad, you don’t have to worry about any licensing or safety concerns. Digirad takes care of everything. As part of our Nuclear Cardiology service for both mobile sites and fixed camera sites, we obtain the license and provide the following:
- All RM licensing needs including application, renewal and inspections
- Physicist support including audits and ongoing support requirements
- Radiation Safety Committee and all related requirements
- Exit surveys and wipe tests on each day of service
- Qualified nuclear medicine technologists who are certified by NMTCB or ARRT(N)
Digirad operates under ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Acceptable) principles. This means that we make every reasonable effort to ensure that radiation exposure is kept as low as possible. Our ALARA program includes radiation safety, operating, and emergency procedures.
Digirad is ultimately responsible for the radiation safety program and all aspects of the license. The license will be listed at your office address, but it will be in Digirad’s name. The state holds Digirad responsible for safety and maintenance.
Whether you own a camera, use our fixed site services solution, or utilize our mobile, in-facility imaging service, choosing Digirad ensures that you experience no hassles and minimal costs for licensing, physics consulting, and accreditation.