A Reference Standard-Based Quality Assurance Program for Radiology

Patrick T. Liu, C. Daniel Johnson, Rafael Miranda, Maitray D. Patel, Carrie J. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The authors have developed a comprehensive radiology quality assurance (QA) program that evaluates radiology interpretations and procedures by comparing them with reference standards. Performance metrics are calculated and then compared with benchmarks or goals on the basis of published multicenter data and meta-analyses. Additional workload for physicians is kept to a minimum by having trained allied health staff members perform the comparisons of radiology reports with the reference standards. The performance metrics tracked by the QA program include the accuracy of CT colonography for detecting polyps, the false-negative rate for mammographic detection of breast cancer, the accuracy of CT angiography detection of coronary artery stenosis, the accuracy of meniscal tear detection on MRI, the accuracy of carotid artery stenosis detection on MR angiography, the accuracy of parathyroid adenoma detection by parathyroid scintigraphy, the success rate for obtaining cortical tissue on ultrasound-guided core biopsies of pelvic renal transplants, and the technical success rate for peripheral arterial angioplasty procedures. In contrast with peer-review programs, this reference standard-based QA program minimizes the possibilities of reviewer bias and erroneous second reviewer interpretations. The more objective assessment of performance afforded by the QA program will provide data that can easily be used for education and management conferences, research projects, and multicenter evaluations. Additionally, such performance data could be used by radiology departments to demonstrate their value over nonradiology competitors to referring clinicians, hospitals, patients, and third-party payers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-66
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • Quality assurance
  • radiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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