All physicians performing medical scan readings in BC right now are qualified to do so, according to the first phase of a two-phase investigation into four uncertified radiologists.
Dr. Doug Cochrane, chair of the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council, has finished the first phase of the investigation designed to ensure that all radiologists working in BC are performing tasks they are qualified for in regard to medical scan readings.
The report recommends that the ministry, along with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, establish a province-wide peer review system in order to ensure quality of readings. This increased checks and balances system would ensure that readings would be re-read by another radiologist.
Also recommended is that the college immediately start screening reviews of imaging services in selected facilities, particularly ones where such a review is requested or where peer support is limited, as was the case in Powell River. Clinical audits and peer reviews for all medical staff is another recommendation made by Cochrane.
“The profession and health system have relied,” wrote Cochrane, “on informal and limited formal medical practitioner quality assurance processes that can be improved through a coordinated province-wide approach.”
Joan Graham, daughter of John Moser who died from cancer in January and had a misread scan from August 2010, is having trouble trusting a report from a council associated with the very agencies it is investigating. The council is in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health and BC College of Physicians and Surgeons and is accountable to the ministry of health services.
“I think it’s basically a housekeeping type of review,” said Graham. “It’s an internal investigation...and with something of this magnitude I feel that they need to have an arm’s length view of it.”
Colin Hansen, health services minister, called for the investigation in February, after medical authorities revealed that two radiologists in BC had been performing medical scan interpretations that they were not qualified to do. One case involved Powell River General Hospital and Dr. Mansukhlal Mavji (Charlie) Parmar who, between April and October 2010, read 894 CT scans despite a voluntary restriction.
Phase two of the investigation will probe how the known incidents, including that in Powell River, happened. The report will also analyze the health authority’s response to the situation and the process of accreditation and review when hiring physicians and granting hospital privileges.