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Acceptance and commissioning of imaging equipment


Acceptance and commissioning of imaging equipment is a part of the purchasing of new equipment.  Acceptance assures that the facility is getting the equipment and performance that was specified in the purchase agreement, a vitally important task when purchasing equipment valued from $100,000 to $2 million or more!  Once the integrity and performance of the equipment has been assured, commissioning provides information necessary for clinical use and establishes base line measurements for future quality control checks.

Important Principles

Acceptance testing occurs at two times:  1) Immediately after the equipment is installed (before commissioning); and 2) About one month before the end of the warranty period.  The second acceptance test assures that the equipment meets the specifications at the time of purchase before the warranty expires.  This provides sufficient time to notify the vendor or manufacturer and have the issues resolved at no cost.

During acceptance it is essential that the medical physicist work with the service engineers doing the installation so problems can be resolved as they are discovered.  This will lead to a faster installation and assure that the equipment is performing to specification when the installation is complete.

During commissioning the medical physicist provides information necessary for clinical operation of the equipment, e.g., establishes scan protocols for a CT scanner.  If vendor provided protocols are to be used, the medical physicist must assure that the image quality and patient dose are optimized with these protocols.

Base line values are established during commissioning against which performance will be compared in the future as part of the ongoing quality control program.

Introduction to References

References for acceptance and commissioning may be somewhat dated.  However, even older documents provide the general view of what must be tested, although specifications may have changed (improved).

Maintaining a working relationship with vendors and manufacturers is important and addressed in the Supplemental References.