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Professional/Education/Science Policies

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Policy number Policy name Policy date Sunset date
PP 18-A Statement on the description of involvement of Medical Physicists in clinical procedures 1/18/2007 12/31/2013
Policy source
March 31, 2007 Board Meeting
Policy text
It is often necessary for the text of an AAPM publication to describe the appropriate level of involvement of the Medical Physicist in a clinical procedure. Existing publications use a variety of language, some specific, some not so. Often the wording reflects a recommendation that the Medical Physicist participate in some specific fashion, but sometimes there is reference to another properly trained individual whose relationship to the Medical Physicist is unclear. There are a wide variety of practice models in effect in the U.S. ranging from large academic centers with well organized physics departments to small stand alone clinics in a proprietary setting. Recommendations that may work well in one setting may fail to be sufficiently specific in another, leading to the potential for confusion among those who seek guidance from AAPM documents.

The following language is recommended for all AAPM publications that contain language specifying the role of the Medical Physicist in clinical procedures. The language parallels that used by Medicare in defining types of physician supervision.

Qualified Medical Physicist Supervision Levels:

General Supervision – The procedure is performed under a Qualified Medical Physicist’s overall direction and control but the QMP’s presence is not required during the performance of the procedure. Under General Supervision, the training of the personnel who actually perform the procedure and the maintenance of the necessary equipment and supplies are the continuing responsibility of the QMP.

Direct Supervision – A Qualified Medical Physicist must exercise General Supervision and be present in the facility and immediately available to furnish assistance and direction throughout the performance of the procedure. It does not mean that the QMP must be present in the room when the procedure is being performed.

Personal Supervision – A Qualified Medical Physicist must exercise General Supervision and be present in the room during the performance of the procedure.

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