On 12th May 2018, the American Board of MR Safety (ABMRS) exam for certification as MR Safety Officer (MRSO), MR Medical Director (MRMD) or MR Safety Expert (MRSE) is being offered in Sydney. What does this mean for ANZ MR healthcare professionals? The views here are my personal opinions. Please feel free to comment below.
Do I need to have certification to act as an MRSO/MRSE/MRMD?
No. These roles existed in Europe well before the formation of the ABMRS. The roles are defined in the Inter-Society Working Group on MR Safety: Recommended responsibilities for management of MR safety. I have functioned as an MRSE for over 20 years. It is up to employers to both designate these roles and to appoint to them. I firmly believe that medical imaging employers should follow this model.
Is the ABMRS Certification recognised in Australia and New Zealand?
As far as I know it is not recognised by any national or international professional society or regulatory body. It was introduced to address a specific need in the USA. Should it be recognised by, e.g. ASMIRT, RANZCR, NZMRTB? Well, that is a different question, and one for our professional societies, health departments and education providers.
Surely MR safety is international and independent of location?
The principles of MR safety are. After all, they depend upon physics, engineering and physiology. However medical practice, custom, perception of risk, regulations and standards may vary by country, and in my experience they do.
How will certification benefit me?
The exam has been set by an international panel of experts in MR safety and is sound. Gaining certification as an MRMD or MRSO demonstrates a certain level of knowledge of MR safety. It’s not yet clear if this will give you a competitive edge in a job interview or towards promotion.
Will it empower me to make decisions on individual patient safety?
If you are a radiologist with MRMD certification: yes, but you already had that right – but you can now provide evidence that you are better informed to discharge that duty.
If you are a radiographer/technologist with MRSO certification, then my opinion is: no– you must still scan within the conditions, or obtain a positive benefit v risk decision from your radiologist. However, you can now provide evidence of a level of knowledge regarding understanding or meeting the conditions and also appreciating the risks.
What about MRSE certification?
This is where the Board and I part company. Under the ABMRS certification, there are no professional requisites to gaining MRSE or MRSO certification. You don’t have to be a registered healthcare professional, hold or have any relevant degrees, qualifications or experience.
So what do you need to be an expert in MR safety?
I would include appropriate professional registration, specific degree requirements, advanced understanding of electromagnetic theory, medical electronics, physiology, biomagnetism, MR engineering, a peer-reviewed professional portfolio or structured training programme, participation in relevant research, knowledge of the current literature and significant practical experience. The UK’s Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine has published a knowledge-base and competencies for the MR Safety Expert.
So should I take the exam?
That’s up to you. It’s not clear what personal professional benefits this may bring you, but it may be useful to gauge your knowledge of MR safety. For this reason the Essential MR Safety course now includes a self-marked assessment, as does the UK’s Eden Learning course.
So what do you think? Please comment below. Comments will be moderated.
The American Board of MR Safety www.abmrs.org
The Inter-Society Working Group on MR Safety: Recommended responsibilities for management of MR safety
Fernando Calamante, Bernd Ittermann, Emanuel Kanal, The Inter-Society Working Group on MR Safety, and David G Norris.
Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine