Details on Mammography Continuing Education Weekends

Details on Mammography Continuing Education Weekends

By Margaret Botsco, RT(R)(M)

Special to ADVANCE

Like all registered radiologic technologists, mammographers have a continuing education requirement to fulfill. Mammographers must also meet requirements delinated by the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA). In the following, one of the co-coordinators for a series of weekend-long, corporate-sponsored continuing education seminars focusing on mammography provides an in-depth look at the goals and contents of these courses.

New and veteran mammographers have the opportunity to study with and learn from some of the country’s leading mammographers at the Quality, Care and Commitment (QCC) Mammography Viewbox Seminars, sponsored by Sterling Diagnostic Imaging Inc.

The QCC seminars are going to be held 13 times in 1997, with the same number currently slated for 1998. The seminars are delivered in a full-day Saturday and half-day Sunday format and have been approved for a total of 15 category A credits by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT). Attendees thus can meet their continuing education requirement for three years by attending this course.

The QCC coordinators are proud to be a part of the process for educating mammography technologists under a tailored program for the community. Each of the coordinators and faculty has years of experience handling the jobs and responsibilities they teach about. Dorothy McGrath, BHE, manages staff at Massachusetts General in Boston; Louise Miller, RT(R)(M), performs mammography on a regular per diem and consulting basis; Joy Ronald, RT(R)(M), has been on the forefront of the development of digital and stereotactic technologies; and I have been a member of the National Mammography Quality Assurance Advisory Committee. The course directors include Daniel Kopans, MD, and Edward Sickles, MD.

QCC is the first and only conference to present attendees with patient and facility scenarios to follow throughout the weekend, working through and solving problems until they learn the results of each case on Sunday. In many mammography cases, the technologist who performs the exam may not know what the ultimate outcome is for the patient. This concept of informing technologists of patient outcomes was revolutionary from the standpoint of giving each participant “ownership” of a patient and a facility, with histories and backgrounds to help each identify with their own cases.

QCC has been presented for seven years. Viewboxes were added to the curriculum several years ago, and have proven to be popular with attendees. Viewbox workshops include diagnostic work-up and evaluation, lesion analysis and quality control issues, including phantom imaging and artifact analysis.

With the front page headlines in this country reflecting the need to cut costs in health care, QCC has responded with lectures and workshops on cost containment. For example, there are lectures and workshops on what to do before you call for service for quality-control-related problems. Troubleshooting a problem first ensures that facilities spend money only when absolutely necessary. Dottie McGrath’s lecture on doing more with less extends this concept by demonstrating how to streamline your practice with everything from scheduling patients to report generation.

Positioning workshops are taught with live models, using mammography equipment provided by sponsoring companies. This year, a new approach to teaching positioning called “breast mapping” is being introduced by Louise Miller, who developed the concept, especially for the QCC program. The response from participants has been very positive.

* Remaining dates for QCC seminars include Dallas, on October 4-5; Indianapolis on October 11-12; and Atlantic City, N.J., on October 25-26. For more information, contact QCC registration at (603) 888-2432.

* About the author: Margaret Botsco, RT(R)(M), is the associate technical director of mammography education at the University of Southern California Medical School in Los Angeles and is one of the QCC co-coordinators.