Fusion Imaging from the Technologists’ Perspective Just what is fusion imaging ? What type of technologists are currently involved in the performance of fusion imaging procedures ? What are the educational needs of technologists performing fusion imaging procedures ?
Fusion: “The union of different things by, or as if by, melting……” Imaging: “Making a representation or imitation of an object.
Fusion Imaging: Melting together images from different modalities to create a new (hybrid) image.
Remember; Fusion Imaging, combines more than the imaging modalities. It also combines the technical expertise of the differing technologies, therefore it also creates combination (Hybrid) technologists.
It is possible to fuse images from almost any imaging modality
Currently, the most discussed fusion imaging technique is PET/CT
Positron Emission Tomography Image of the Chest
Research Equals Knowledge Where is PET/CT being performed Who’s performing PET/CT What education/skills are required
Some PET/CT Procedures are being performed in Nuclear Medicine Departments by Nuclear Medicine Technologists
Some PET/CT Procedures are being performed in CT Departments by CT Technologists
Other facilities have created stand-alone PET/CT Departments staffed by CT and Nuclear Medicine Technologists, only Nuclear Medicine Technologists, or only CT Technologists
In some cases, nurses are also employed, to administer I.V. Contrast Media, and/or Radiopharmaceuticals
Confusion Abounds 1. Professional organizations have formed task forces or committees to examine this issue 2. Educators in the Radiologic Sciences have been made increasingly aware of the need to incorporate diverse information into their curricula 3. Imaging Technologists are again facing the educational demands of uncharted territory
Gaining Consensus American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) Society of Nuclear Medicine Technologist Section (SNMTS)
PET/CT Consensus Conference Statements Statement No. 1 Personnel Qualified to Operate PET/CT Equipment Statement No. 2 Regulation of Personnel Who Operate PET/CT Equipment
Consensus Statement Number 1 “Any registered radiographer with the credentials R.T. ( R ), registered radiation therapist with the credentials R.T. ( T ), or a registered nuclear medicine technologist with the credentials R.T. ( N ) or CNMT may operate PET-CT equipment after obtaining appropriate additional education or training and demonstrated competency.”
The Ideal Pet-CT Technologist ? Joanne Doe, R.T. ( R ) ( N ) ( T ) ( CT ) Or Joanne Doe, R.T. ( R ) ( T ) ( CT ), CNMT
What are the Commonalities ? All are Radiologic Sciences Professionals All have completed educational programs specific to their disciplines All are Certified and Registered Technologists
What are the real Differences ? Do not necessarily have the same basic knowledge Come from diverse educational backgrounds Practice generally specific to discipline May not be as cognizant of other imaging modalities as required May believe profession other than own, “piece of cake”
Educational Needs of PET/CT Technologists Patient Care, Education, and Management Radiation Physics Radiation Biology and Protection Cross-Sectional Anatomy CT Knowledge Nuclear Medicine Knowledge (PET) Radiopharmaceuticals Contrast Media PET/CT Equipment Operation, Maintenance, and Instrumentation
So what is the answer to the educational challenges presented by fusion imaging technology ??????
Short Term = Applications Training for technologists performing PET/CT and continuing education courses designed to educate practitioners
Long Term = Fusion of discipline specific courses to provide an essential “core” of courses for all students
Still Con-FUSED ???? While the educational challenges created by fusion imaging technology are rather daunting, collaborative efforts between educators and professional organizations, with input from the diverse constituency, will lead to solutions