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Quality Management Audits in Nuclear Medicine Practices (QUANUM)

Through QUANUM, the IAEA supports the implementation of effective quality systems while integrating all aspects of quality management into modern nuclear medicine services in Member States. The QUANUM programme provides a tool to perform independent quality audits of nuclear medicine departments through comprehensive reviews of organizations and their clinical practice.

The aim of the QUANUM programme is threefold: first, to encourage the introduction of a routine process of conducting annual systematic audits in the clinical arena; second, to encourage the adoption of a culture of regular analyses and reviews of internal processes; and third, and most importantly, to introduce a quality audit process that is patient-oriented, systematic and outcome-based.

QUANUM has two principal components: a self-assessment process in which a nuclear medicine department completes its own evaluation using the QUANUM checklists, and a site visit typically carried out by a multidisciplinary team of experts, comprising a nuclear medicine physician, a medical physicist, a nuclear medicine technologist / radiographer and a radiopharmacist / radiochemist. This team performs a comprehensive peer review of all components of service delivery against predetermined standards, and thus aims at continuous improvement of all aspects and services of the department. The intention is to raise the quality of nuclear medicine practices to those standards.

The QUANUM methodology gives guidance on the implementation of such audits, which conclude with a written report of the findings and give recommendations, including a plan of corrective actions agreed with local management, sometimes followed by a follow-up review one to two years later.

The QUANUM audit is advisory in nature. It is not designed for regulatory purposes and the auditors have no power to enforce any actions based on their assessment. The audited facility takes the decision of implementing or not the recommendations made during the review, but experience shows that QUANUM audits have overall contributed to significant improvements of clinical practice and services to patients.

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