Radiology involves making a diagnosis and providing treatment using medical imaging.
Radiologists specialise in diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries using medical imaging techniques, such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET) and ultrasound.
Radiology, like many diagnostic services, involves decision making under conditions of uncertainty and a certain degree of error is inevitable.
The Faculty of Radiologists at RCSI wanted to systematically produce robust evidence to ensure that radiologists in Ireland meet the highest international standards. It also wanted to address the lack of national standards or benchmarks for auditing radiology services.
The National Radiology Quality Improvement (NRQI) Programme was launched by the Faculty of Radiologists in collaboration with the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and RCPI in 2009.
In 2014, the National Cancer Control Programme handed over responsibility for the Programme work to the National Quality Improvement Team (formerly QI Division), HSE. The HSE National Quality and Patient Safety Directorate is the current programme funder and RCPI continues to manage this programme.
The programme provides a national framework that establishes routine reviews of performance, and highlights areas for improvement within quality activities and against national aggregate results, recommendations and agreed targets, in line with international best practice.
QI culture is actively promoted by engaging key hospital stakeholders in gathering and reviewing relevant quality improvement data, identifying gaps in best practice and areas of good practice, and recognising and encouraging opportunities for improvement locally.
Participating radiology departments have agreed to implement practical quality improvement measures, as outlined in the Guidelines for the Radiology National Quality Improvement Programme.
National Quality Assurance Intelligence System (NQAIS) - Radiology is the central repository for quality improvement data. It was developed and validated by HSE’s Office of Chief Information Officer (OoCIO) and the NRQI Working Group with assistance from NRQI programme management at RCPI.
Anonymous data relating to predefined Key Quality Indicators are automatically exported from a local information system to NQAIS-Radiology every night. A portion of QI activity data requires manual input into NQAIS-Radiology by a QI Lead Radiologist, under Summary Data.
Radiology departments can use reports generated in NQAIS to compare their results against the national aggregate, identify best practice and any variations on this, to review, improve and sustain the quality of their work in the context of national norms and targets.