EC recommendation pushes clinical audits of medical radiological practices

The European Commission (EC) has adopted a recommendation that will drive regulations and clinical audits of medical radiological practices throughout member states.

A clinical audit is defined as "a systematic examination or review of medical radiological procedures which seeks to improve the quality and outcome of patient care through structured review, whereby medical radiological practices, procedures, and results are examined against agreed standards for good medical radiological procedures, with modification of practices, where appropriate, and the application of new standards if necessary," according to information in the EU Energy announcement dated April 18. Clinical audits are not to be confused with other types of inspections and regulatory audits, pointed out the Commission document.

This recommendation is the outcome of a collaborative approach between the various stakeholders of the European Society of Radiology-led QuADRANT project (, HERCA, the EC SAMIRA Steering Group on Quality and Safety, and the EC. It calls for developing a national framework and infrastructure for clinical audits, adding that in addition to clinical audits of the use of ionizing radiation, auditing practices around contrast agents, magnetic resonance, and ultrasound imaging will also contribute to the overall quality and safety of medical imaging in member states.

Points of interest include:

  • Supporting the involvement of health and radiation protection authorities and national professional and clinical specialty societies in developing the national framework and infrastructure for clinical audits.
  • Creating responsibilities that include defining clinical audit policy and responsibilities; identifying and allocating resources and administrative support; and developing audit guidance and manuals.
  • Providing effective mechanisms for the collection and communication of quantitative and qualitative data for clinical audits, supported whenever possible, by functional IT solutions.
  • Comparing and benchmarking results of clinical audits at national and, as far as possible, community level, and provide feedback to the radiation protection and healthcare policy decision-makers.

Systematic clinical audits of the use of ionizing radiation and other medical imaging activities will support the implementation of the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the commission noted.

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