Recent reported cases of cancer misdiagnoses have reaffirmed the critical role of Quality Improvement (QI) in the delivery of patient care. The highly professional work of all Radiologists in Ireland is commended but we are cognisant that Radiology like many diagnostic services involves decision making under conditions of uncertainty and a certain degree of error is inevitable.
Few formal measures are currently in place to reassure the public that error is kept to an absolute minimum and few national benchmarks for key aspects of diagnostic services are currently in place to measure performance. Recognising the importance of these elements, this National Quality Improvement Programme in Radiology was initiated by the Faculty of Radiologists, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) in collaboration with the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and the HSE’s Directorate of Quality and Clinical Care in 2009. It is now funded by the HSE Quality Improvement Division (QID) and the programme is managed by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI).
The aim of this QI programme (combined for diagnostic and interventional radiology) is to provide guidelines for practical and implementable QI measures, which, in conjunction with existing local quality systems, will enable each hospital to monitor and evaluate their own performance in an effort to improve patient safety. These guidelines have been developed following consultation with Radiologists within the Faculty and in a number of pilot hospitals.
International QI standards and guidelines have been reviewed and adapted for this QI programme. The Faculty has made a number of recommendations within the guidelines and will assist in their phased implementation.
The Faculty of Radiologists, RCSI, accepts that this QI programme is an evolving process and that this document will require regular review.