21 CFR 900.12 - Quality standards.

§ 900.12 Quality standards.
(a) Personnel. The following requirements apply to all personnel involved in any aspect of mammography, including the production, processing, and interpretation of mammograms and related quality assurance activities:
(1) Interpreting physicians. All physicians interpreting mammograms shall meet the following qualifications:
(i) Initial qualifications. Unless the exemption in paragraph (a)(1)(iii)(A) of this section applies, before beginning to interpret mammograms independently, the interpreting physician shall:
(A) Be licensed to practice medicine in a State;
(B) (1) Be certified in an appropriate specialty area by a body determined by FDA to have procedures and requirements adequate to ensure that physicians certified by the body are competent to interpret radiological procedures, including mammography; or
(2) Have had at least 3 months of documented formal training in the interpretation of mammograms and in topics related to mammography. The training shall include instruction in radiation physics, including radiation physics specific to mammography, radiation effects, and radiation protection. The mammographic interpretation component shall be under the direct supervision of a physician who meets the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section;
(C) Have a minimum of 60 hours of documented medical education in mammography, which shall include: Instruction in the interpretation of mammograms and education in basic breast anatomy, pathology, physiology, technical aspects of mammography, and quality assurance and quality control in mammography. All 60 of these hours shall be category I and at least 15 of the category I hours shall have been acquired within the 3 years immediately prior to the date that the physician qualifies as an interpreting physician. Hours spent in residency specifically devoted to mammography will be considered as equivalent to Category I continuing medical education credits and will be accepted if documented in writing by the appropriate representative of the training institution; and
(D) Unless the exemption in paragraph (a)(1)(iii)(B) of this section applies, have interpreted or multi-read at least 240 mammographic examinations within the 6-month period immediately prior to the date that the physician qualifies as an interpreting physician. This interpretation or multi-reading shall be under the direct supervision of an interpreting physician.
(ii) Continuing experience and education. All interpreting physicians shall maintain their qualifications by meeting the following requirements:
(A) Following the second anniversary date of the end of the calendar quarter in which the requirements of paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section were completed, the interpreting physician shall have interpreted or multi-read at least 960 mammographic examinations during the 24 months immediately preceding the date of the facility's annual MQSA inspection or the last day of the calendar quarter preceding the inspection or any date in-between the two. The facility will choose one of these dates to determine the 24-month period.
(B) Following the third anniversary date of the end of the calendar quarter in which the requirements of paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section were completed, the interpreting physician shall have taught or completed at least 15 category I continuing medical education units in mammography during the 36 months immediately preceding the date of the facility's annual MQSA inspection or the last day of the calendar quarter preceding the inspection or any date in between the two. The facility will choose one of these dates to determine the 36-month period. This training shall include at least six category I continuing medical education credits in each mammographic modality used by the interpreting physician in his or her practice; and
(C) Before an interpreting physician may begin independently interpreting mammograms produced by a new mammographic modality, that is, a mammographic modality in which the physician has not previously been trained, the interpreting physician shall have at least 8 hours of training in the new mammographic modality.
(D) Units earned through teaching a specific course can be counted only once towards the 15 required by paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(B) of this section, even if the course is taught multiple times during the previous 36 months.
(iii) Exemptions.
(A) Those physicians who qualified as interpreting physicians under paragraph (a)(1) of this section of FDA's interim regulations prior to April 28, 1999, are considered to have met the initial requirements of paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section. They may continue to interpret mammograms provided they continue to meet the licensure requirement of paragraph (a)(1)(i)(A) of this section and the continuing experience and education requirements of paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section.
(B) Physicians who have interpreted or multi-read at least 240 mammographic examinations under the direct supervision of an interpreting physician in any 6-month period during the last 2 years of a diagnostic radiology residency and who become appropriately board certified at the first allowable time, as defined by an eligible certifying body, are otherwise exempt from paragraph (a)(1)(i)(D) of this section.
(iv) Reestablishing qualifications. Interpreting physicians who fail to maintain the required continuing experience or continuing education requirements shall reestablish their qualifications before resuming the independent interpretation of mammograms, as follows:
(A) Interpreting physicians who fail to meet the continuing experience requirements of paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(A) of this section shall:
(1) Interpret or multi-read at least 240 mammographic examinations under the direct supervision of an interpreting physician, or
(2) Interpret or multi-read a sufficient number of mammographic examinations, under the direct supervision of an interpreting physician, to bring the physician's total up to 960 examinations for the prior 24 months, whichever is less.
(3) The interpretations required under paragraph (a)(1)(iv)(A)(1) or (a)(1)(iv)(A)(2) of this section shall be done within the 6 months immediately prior to resuming independent interpretation.
(B) Interpreting physicians who fail to meet the continuing education requirements of paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(B) of this section shall obtain a sufficient number of additional category I continuing medical education credits in mammography to bring their total up to the required 15 credits in the previous 36 months before resuming independent interpretation.
(2) Radiologic technologists. All mammographic examinations shall be performed by radiologic technologists who meet the following general requirements, mammography requirements, and continuing education and experience requirements:
(i) General requirements.
(A) Be licensed to perform general radiographic procedures in a State; or
(B) Have general certification from one of the bodies determined by FDA to have procedures and requirements adequate to ensure that radiologic technologists certified by the body are competent to perform radiologic examinations; and
(ii) Mammography requirements. Have, prior to April 28, 1999, qualified as a radiologic technologist under paragraph (a)(2) of this section of FDA's interim regulations of December 21, 1993, or completed at least 40 contact hours of documented training specific to mammography under the supervision of a qualified instructor. The hours of documented training shall include, but not necessarily be limited to:
(A) Training in breast anatomy and physiology, positioning and compression, quality assurance/quality control techniques, imaging of patients with breast implants;
(B) The performance of a minimum of 25 examinations under the direct supervision of an individual qualified under paragraph (a)(2) of this section; and
(C) At least 8 hours of training in each mammography modality to be used by the technologist in performing mammography exams; and
(iii) Continuing education requirements.
(A) Following the third anniversary date of the end of the calendar quarter in which the requirements of paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (a)(2)(ii) of this section were completed, the radiologic technologist shall have taught or completed at least 15 continuing education units in mammography during the 36 months immediately preceding the date of the facility's annual MQSA inspection or the last day of the calendar quarter preceding the inspection or any date in between the two. The facility will choose one of these dates to determine the 36-month period.
(B) Units earned through teaching a specific course can be counted only once towards the 15 required in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(A) of this section, even if the course is taught multiple times during the previous 36 months.
(C) At least six of the continuing education units required in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(A) of this section shall be related to each mammographic modality used by the technologist.
(D) Requalification. Radiologic technologists who fail to meet the continuing education requirements of paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(A) of this section shall obtain a sufficient number of continuing education units in mammography to bring their total up to at least 15 in the previous 3 years, at least 6 of which shall be related to each modality used by the technologist in mammography. The technologist may not resume performing unsupervised mammography examinations until the continuing education requirements are completed.
(E) Before a radiologic technologist may begin independently performing mammographic examinations using a mammographic modality other than one of those for which the technologist received training under paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(C) of this section, the technologist shall have at least 8 hours of continuing education units in the new modality.
(iv) Continuing experience requirements.
(A) Following the second anniversary date of the end of the calendar quarter in which the requirements of paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (a)(2)(ii) of this section were completed or of April 28, 1999, whichever is later, the radiologic technologist shall have performed a minimum of 200 mammography examinations during the 24 months immediately preceding the date of the facility's annual inspection or the last day of the calendar quarter preceding the inspection or any date in between the two. The facility will choose one of these dates to determine the 24-month period.
(B) Requalification. Radiologic technologists who fail to meet the continuing experience requirements of paragraph (a)(2)(iv)(A) of this section shall perform a minimum of 25 mammography examinations under the direct supervision of a qualified radiologic technologist, before resuming the performance of unsupervised mammography examinations.
(3) Medical physicists. All medical physicists conducting surveys of mammography facilities and providing oversight of the facility quality assurance program under paragraph (e) of this section shall meet the following:
(i) Initial qualifications.
(A) Be State licensed or approved or have certification in an appropriate specialty area by one of the bodies determined by FDA to have procedures and requirements to ensure that medical physicists certified by the body are competent to perform physics survey; and
(B) (1) Have a masters degree or higher in a physical science from an accredited institution, with no less than 20 semester hours or equivalent (e.g., 30 quarter hours) of college undergraduate or graduate level physics;
(2) Have 20 contact hours of documented specialized training in conducting surveys of mammography facilities; and
(3) Have the experience of conducting surveys of at least 1 mammography facility and a total of at least 10 mammography units. No more than one survey of a specific unit within a period of 60 days can be counted towards the total mammography unit survey requirement. After April 28, 1999, experience conducting surveys must be acquired under the direct supervision of a medical physicist who meets all the requirements of paragraphs (a)(3)(i) and (a)(3)(iii) of this section; or
(ii) Alternative initial qualifications.
(A) Have qualified as a medical physicist under paragraph (a)(3) of this section of FDA's interim regulations and retained that qualification by maintenance of the active status of any licensure, approval, or certification required under the interim regulations; and
(B) Prior to the April 28, 1999, have:
(1) A bachelor's degree or higher in a physical science from an accredited institution with no less than 10 semester hours or equivalent of college undergraduate or graduate level physics,
(2) Forty contact hours of documented specialized training in conducting surveys of mammography facilities and,
(3) Have the experience of conducting surveys of at least 1 mammography facility and a total of at least 20 mammography units. No more than one survey of a specific unit within a period of 60 days can be counted towards the total mammography unit survey requirement. The training and experience requirements must be met after fulfilling the degree requirement.
(iii) Continuing qualifications.
(A) Continuing education. Following the third anniversary date of the end of the calendar quarter in which the requirements of paragraph (a)(3)(i) or (a)(3)(ii) of this section were completed, the medical physicist shall have taught or completed at least 15 continuing education units in mammography during the 36 months immediately preceding the date of the facility's annual inspection or the last day of the calendar quarter preceding the inspection or any date in between the two. The facility shall choose one of these dates to determine the 36-month period. This continuing education shall include hours of training appropriate to each mammographic modality evaluated by the medical physicist during his or her surveys or oversight of quality assurance programs. Units earned through teaching a specific course can be counted only once towards the required 15 units in a 36-month period, even if the course is taught multiple times during the 36 months.
(B) Continuing experience. Following the second anniversary date of the end of the calendar quarter in which the requirements of paragraphs (a)(3)(i) and (a)(3)(ii) of this section were completed or of April 28, 1999, whichever is later, the medical physicist shall have surveyed at least two mammography facilities and a total of at least six mammography units during the 24 months immediately preceding the date of the facility's annual MQSA inspection or the last day of the calendar quarter preceding the inspection or any date in between the two. The facility shall choose one of these dates to determine the 24-month period. No more than one survey of a specific facility within a 10-month period or a specific unit within a period of 60 days can be counted towards this requirement.
(C) Before a medical physicist may begin independently performing mammographic surveys of a new mammographic modality, that is, a mammographic modality other than one for which the physicist received training to qualify under paragraph (a)(3)(i) or (a)(3)(ii) of this section, the physicist must receive at least 8 hours of training in surveying units of the new mammographic modality.
(iv) Reestablishing qualifications. Medical physicists who fail to maintain the required continuing qualifications of paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section may not perform the MQSA surveys without the supervision of a qualified medical physicist. Before independently surveying another facility, medical physicists must reestablish their qualifications, as follows:
(A) Medical physicists who fail to meet the continuing educational requirements of paragraph (a)(3)(iii)(A) of this section shall obtain a sufficient number of continuing education units to bring their total units up to the required 15 in the previous 3 years.
(B) Medical physicists who fail to meet the continuing experience requirement of paragraph (a)(3)(iii)(B) of this section shall complete a sufficient number of surveys under the direct supervision of a medical physicist who meets the qualifications of paragraphs (a)(3)(i) and (a)(3)(iii) of this section to bring their total surveys up to the required two facilities and six units in the previous 24 months. No more than one survey of a specific unit within a period of 60 days can be counted towards the total mammography unit survey requirement.
(4) Retention of personnel records. Facilities shall maintain records to document the qualifications of all personnel who worked at the facility as interpreting physicians, radiologic technologists, or medical physicists. These records must be available for review by the MQSA inspectors. Records of personnel no longer employed by the facility should not be discarded until the next annual inspection has been completed and FDA has determined that the facility is in compliance with the MQSA personnel requirements.
(b) Equipment. Regulations published under §§ 1020.30, 1020.31, and 900.12(e) of this chapter that are relevant to equipment performance should also be consulted for a more complete understanding of the equipment performance requirements.
(1) Prohibited equipment. Radiographic equipment designed for general purpose or special nonmammography procedures shall not be used for mammography. This prohibition includes systems that have been modified or equipped with special attachments for mammography. This requirement supersedes the implied acceptance of such systems in § 1020.31(f)(3) of this chapter.
(2) General. All radiographic equipment used for mammography shall be specifically designed for mammography and shall be certified pursuant to § 1010.2 of this chapter as meeting the applicable requirements of §§ 1020.30 and 1020.31 of this chapter in effect at the date of manufacture.
(3) Motion of tube-image receptor assembly.
(i) The assembly shall be capable of being fixed in any position where it is designed to operate. Once fixed in any such position, it shall not undergo unintended motion.
(ii) The mechanism ensuring compliance with paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section shall not fail in the event of power interruption.
(4) Image receptor sizes.
(i) Systems using screen-film image receptors shall provide, at a minimum, for operation with image receptors of 18×24 centimeters (cm) and 24×30 cm.
(ii) Systems using screen-film image receptors shall be equipped with moving grids matched to all image receptor sizes provided.
(iii) Systems used for magnification procedures shall be capable of operation with the grid removed from between the source and image receptor.
(5) Light fields. For any mammography system with a light beam that passes through the x-ray beam-limiting device, the light shall provide an average illumination of not less than 160 lux (15 foot candles) at 100 cm or the maximum source-image receptor distance (SID), whichever is less.
(6) Magnification.
(i) Systems used to perform noninterventional problem solving procedures shall have radiographic magnification capability available for use by the operator.
(ii) Systems used for magnification procedures shall provide, at a minimum, at least one magnification value within the range of 1.4 to 2.0.
(7) Focal spot selection.
(i) When more than one focal spot is provided, the system shall indicate, prior to exposure, which focal spot is selected.
(ii) When more than one target material is provided, the system shall indicate, prior to exposure, the preselected target material.
(iii) When the target material and/or focal spot is selected by a system algorithm that is based on the exposure or on a test exposure, the system shall display, after the exposure, the target material and/or focal spot actually used during the exposure.
(8) Compression. All mammography systems shall incorporate a compression device.
(i) Application of compression. Effective October 28, 2002, each system shall provide:
(A) An initial power-driven compression activated by hands-free controls operable from both sides of the patient; and
(B) Fine adjustment compression controls operable from both sides of the patient.
(ii) Compression paddle.
(A) Systems shall be equipped with different sized compression paddles that match the sizes of all full-field image receptors provided for the system. Compression paddles for special purposes, including those smaller than the full size of the image receptor (for “spot compression”) may be provided. Such compression paddles for special purposes are not subject to the requirements of paragraphs (b)(8)(ii)(D) and (b)(8)(ii)(E) of this section.
(B) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(8)(ii)(C) of this section, the compression paddle shall be flat and parallel to the breast support table and shall not deflect from parallel by more than 1.0 cm at any point on the surface of the compression paddle when compression is applied.
(C) Equipment intended by the manufacturer's design to not be flat and parallel to the breast support table during compression shall meet the manufacturer's design specifications and maintenance requirements.
(D) The chest wall edge of the compression paddle shall be straight and parallel to the edge of the image receptor.
(E) The chest wall edge may be bent upward to allow for patient comfort but shall not appear on the image.
(9) Technique factor selection and display.
(i) Manual selection of milliampere seconds (mAs) or at least one of its component parts (milliapere (mA) and/or time) shall be available.
(ii) The technique factors (peak tube potential in kilovolt (kV) and either tube current in mA and exposure time in seconds or the product of tube current and exposure time in mAs) to be used during an exposure shall be indicated before the exposure begins, except when automatic exposure controls (AEC) are used, in which case the technique factors that are set prior to the exposure shall be indicated.
(iii) Following AEC mode use, the system shall indicate the actual kilovoltage peak (kVp) and mAs used during the exposure. The mAs may be displayed as mA and time.
(10) Automatic exposure control.
(i) Each screen-film system shall provide an AEC mode that is operable in all combinations of equipment configuration provided, e.g., grid, nongrid; magnification, nonmagnification; and various target-filter combinations.
(ii) The positioning or selection of the detector shall permit flexibility in the placement of the detector under the target tissue.
(A) The size and available positions of the detector shall be clearly indicated at the X-ray input surface of the breast compression paddle.
(B) The selected position of the detector shall be clearly indicated.
(iii) The system shall provide means for the operator to vary the selected optical density from the normal (zero) setting.
(11) X-ray film. The facility shall use X-ray film for mammography that has been designated by the film manufacturer as appropriate for mammography.
(12) Intensifying screens. The facility shall use intensifying screens for mammography that have been designated by the screen manufacturer as appropriate for mammography and shall use film that is matched to the screen's spectral output as specified by the manufacturer.
(13) Film processing solutions. For processing mammography films, the facility shall use chemical solutions that are capable of developing the films used by the facility in a manner equivalent to the minimum requirements specified by the film manufacturer.
(14) Lighting. The facility shall make special lights for film illumination, i.e., hot-lights, capable of producing light levels greater than that provided by the view box, available to the interpreting physicians.
(15) Film masking devices. Facilities shall ensure that film masking devices that can limit the illuminated area to a region equal to or smaller than the exposed portion of the film are available to all interpreting physicians interpreting for the facility.
(c) Medical records and mammography reports—
(1) Contents and terminology. Each facility shall prepare a written report of the results of each mammography examination performed under its certificate. The mammography report shall include the following information:
(i) The name of the patient and an additional patient identifier;
(ii) Date of examination;
(iii) The name of the interpreting physician who interpreted the mammogram;
(iv) Overall final assessment of findings, classified in one of the following categories:
(A) “Negative:” Nothing to comment upon (if the interpreting physician is aware of clinical findings or symptoms, despite the negative assessment, these shall be explained);
(B) “Benign:” Also a negative assessment;
(C) “Probably Benign:” Finding(s) has a high probability of being benign;
(D) “Suspicious:” Finding(s) without all the characteristic morphology of breast cancer but indicating a definite probability of being malignant;
(E) “Highly suggestive of malignancy:” Finding(s) has a high probability of being malignant;
(v) In cases where no final assessment category can be assigned due to incomplete work-up, “Incomplete: Need additional imaging evaluation” shall be assigned as an assessment and reasons why no assessment can be made shall be stated by the interpreting physician; and
(vi) Recommendations made to the health care provider about what additional actions, if any, should be taken. All clinical questions raised by the referring health care provider shall be addressed in the report to the extent possible, even if the assessment is negative or benign.
(2) Communication of mammography results to the patients. Each facility shall send each patient a summary of the mammography report written in lay terms within 30 days of the mammographic examination. If assessments are “Suspicious” or “Highly suggestive of malignancy,” the facility shall make reasonable attempts to ensure that the results are communicated to the patient as soon as possible.
(i) Patients who do not name a health care provider to receive the mammography report shall be sent the report described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section within 30 days, in addition to the written notification of results in lay terms.
(ii) Each facility that accepts patients who do not have a health care provider shall maintain a system for referring such patients to a health care provider when clinically indicated.
(3) Communication of mammography results to health care providers. When the patient has a referring health care provider or the patient has named a health care provider, the facility shall:
(i) Provide a written report of the mammography examination, including the items listed in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, to that health care provider as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days from the date of the mammography examination; and
(ii) If the assessment is “Suspicious” or “Highly suggestive of malignancy,” make reasonable attempts to communicate with the health care provider as soon as possible, or if the health care provider is unavailable, to a responsible designee of the health care provider.
(4) Recordkeeping. Each facility that performs mammograms:
(i) Shall (except as provided in paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section) maintain mammography films and reports in a permanent medical record of the patient for a period of not less than 5 years, or not less than 10 years if no additional mammograms of the patient are performed at the facility, or a longer period if mandated by State or local law; and
(ii) Shall upon request by, or on behalf of, the patient, permanently or temporarily transfer the original mammograms and copies of the patient's reports to a medical institution, or to a physician or health care provider of the patient, or to the patient directly;
(iii) Any fee charged to the patients for providing the services in paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section shall not exceed the documented costs associated with this service.
(5) Mammographic image identification. Each mammographic image shall have the following information indicated on it in a permanent, legible, and unambiguous manner and placed so as not to obscure anatomic structures:
(i) Name of patient and an additional patient identifier.
(ii) Date of examination.
(iii) View and laterality. This information shall be placed on the image in a position near the axilla. Standardized codes specified by the accreditation body and approved by FDA in accordance with § 900.3(b) or § 900.4(a)(8) shall be used to identify view and laterality.
(iv) Facility name and location. At a minimum, the location shall include the city, State, and zip code of the facility.
(v) Technologist identification.
(vi) Cassette/screen identification.
(vii) Mammography unit identification, if there is more than one unit in the facility.
(d) Quality assurance—general. Each facility shall establish and maintain a quality assurance program to ensure the safety, reliability, clarity, and accuracy of mammography services performed at the facility.
(1) Responsible individuals. Responsibility for the quality assurance program and for each of its elements shall be assigned to individuals who are qualified for their assignments and who shall be allowed adequate time to perform these duties.
(i) Lead interpreting physician. The facility shall identify a lead interpreting physician who shall have the general responsibility of ensuring that the quality assurance program meets all requirements of paragraphs (d) through (f) of this section. No other individual shall be assigned or shall retain responsibility for quality assurance tasks unless the lead interpreting physician has determined that the individual's qualifications for, and performance of, the assignment are adequate.
(ii) Interpreting physicians. All interpreting physicians interpreting mammograms for the facility shall:
(A) Follow the facility procedures for corrective action when the images they are asked to interpret are of poor quality, and
(B) Participate in the facility's medical outcomes audit program.
(iii) Medical physicist. Each facility shall have the services of a medical physicist available to survey mammography equipment and oversee the equipment-related quality assurance practices of the facility. At a minimum, the medical physicist(s) shall be responsible for performing the surveys and mammography equipment evaluations and providing the facility with the reports described in paragraphs (e)(9) and (e)(10) of this section.
(iv) Quality control technologist. Responsibility for all individual tasks within the quality assurance program not assigned to the lead interpreting physician or the medical physicist shall be assigned to a quality control technologist(s). The tasks are to be performed by the quality control technologist or by other personnel qualified to perform the tasks. When other personnel are utilized for these tasks, the quality control technologist shall ensure that the tasks are completed in such a way as to meet the requirements of paragraph (e) of this section.
(2) Quality assurance records. The lead interpreting physician, quality control technologist, and medical physicist shall ensure that records concerning mammography technique and procedures, quality control (including monitoring data, problems detected by analysis of that data, corrective actions, and the effectiveness of the correction actions), safety, protection, and employee qualifications to meet assigned quality assurance tasks are properly maintained and updated. These quality control records shall be kept for each test specified in paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section until the next annual inspection has been completed and FDA has determined that the facility is in compliance with the quality assurance requirements or until the test has been performed two additional times at the required frequency, whichever is longer.
(e) Quality assurance—equipment—
(1) Daily quality control tests. Film processors used to develop mammograms shall be adjusted and maintained to meet the technical development specifications for the mammography film in use. A processor performance test shall be performed on each day that clinical films are processed before any clinical films are processed that day. The test shall include an assessment of base plus fog density, mid-density, and density difference, using the mammography film used clinically at the facility.
(i) The base plus fog density shall be within 0.03 of the established operating level.
(ii) The mid-density shall be within ±0.15 of the established operating level.
(iii) The density difference shall be within ±0.15 of the established operating level.
(2) Weekly quality control tests. Facilities with screen-film systems shall perform an image quality evaluation test, using an FDA-approved phantom, at least weekly.
(i) The optical density of the film at the center of an image of a standard FDA-accepted phantom shall be at least 1.20 when exposed under a typical clinical condition.
(ii) The optical density of the film at the center of the phantom image shall not change by more than ±0.20 from the established operating level.
(iii) The phantom image shall achieve at least the minimum score established by the accreditation body and accepted by FDA in accordance with § 900.3(d) or § 900.4(a)(8).
(iv) The density difference between the background of the phantom and an added test object, used to assess image contrast, shall be measured and shall not vary by more than ±0.05 from the established operating level.
(3) Quarterly quality control tests. Facilities with screen-film systems shall perform the following quality control tests at least quarterly:
(i) Fixer retention in film. The residual fixer shall be no more than 5 micrograms per square cm.
(ii) Repeat analysis. If the total repeat or reject rate changes from the previously determined rate by more than 2.0 percent of the total films included in the analysis, the reason(s) for the change shall be determined. Any corrective actions shall be recorded and the results of these corrective actions shall be assessed.
(4) Semiannual quality control tests. Facilities with screen-film systems shall perform the following quality control tests at least semiannually:
(i) Darkroom fog. The optical density attributable to darkroom fog shall not exceed 0.05 when a mammography film of the type used in the facility, which has a mid-density of no less than 1.2 OD, is exposed to typical darkroom conditions for 2 minutes while such film is placed on the counter top emulsion side up. If the darkroom has a safelight used for mammography film, it shall be on during this test.
(ii) Screen-film contact. Testing for screen-film contact shall be conducted using 40 mesh copper screen. All cassettes used in the facility for mammography shall be tested.
(iii) Compression device performance.
(A) A compression force of at least 111 newtons (25 pounds) shall be provided.
(B) Effective October 28, 2002, the maximum compression force for the initial power drive shall be between 111 newtons (25 pounds) and 200 newtons (45 pounds).
(5) Annual quality control tests. Facilities with screen-film systems shall perform the following quality control tests at least annually:
(i) Automatic exposure control performance.
(A) The AEC shall be capable of maintaining film optical density within ±0.30 of the mean optical density when thickness of a homogeneous material is varied over a range of 2 to 6 cm and the kVp is varied appropriately for such thicknesses over the kVp range used clinically in the facility. If this requirement cannot be met, a technique chart shall be developed showing appropriate techniques (kVp and density control settings) for different breast thicknesses and compositions that must be used so that optical densities within ±0.30 of the average under phototimed conditions can be produced.
(B) After October 28, 2002, the AEC shall be capable of maintaining film optical density (OD) within ±0.15 of the mean optical density when thickness of a homogeneous material is varied over a range of 2 to 6 cm and the kVp is varied appropriately for such thicknesses over the kVp range used clinically in the facility.
(C) The optical density of the film in the center of the phantom image shall not be less than 1.20.
(ii) Kilovoltage peak (kVp) accuracy and reproducibility.
(A) The kVp shall be accurate within ±5 percent of the indicated or selected kVp at:
(1) The lowest clinical kVp that can be measured by a kVp test device;
(2) The most commonly used clinical kVp;
(3) The highest available clinical kVp, and
(B) At the most commonly used clinical settings of kVp, the coefficient of variation of reproducibility of the kVp shall be equal to or less than 0.02.
(iii) Focal spot condition. Until October 28, 2002, focal spot condition shall be evaluated either by determining system resolution or by measuring focal spot dimensions. After October 28, 2002, facilities shall evaluate focal spot condition only by determining the system resolution.
(A) System resolution. (1) Each X-ray system used for mammography, in combination with the mammography screen-film combination used in the facility, shall provide a minimum resolution of 11 Cycles/millimeter (mm) (line-pairs/mm) when a high contrast resolution bar test pattern is oriented with the bars perpendicular to the anode-cathode axis, and a minimum resolution of 13 line-pairs/mm when the bars are parallel to that axis.
(2) The bar pattern shall be placed 4.5 cm above the breast support surface, centered with respect to the chest wall edge of the image receptor, and with the edge of the pattern within 1 cm of the chest wall edge of the image receptor.
(3) When more than one target material is provided, the measurement in paragraph (e)(5)(iii)(A) of this section shall be made using the appropriate focal spot for each target material.
(4) When more than one SID is provided, the test shall be performed at SID most commonly used clinically.
(5) Test kVp shall be set at the value used clinically by the facility for a standard breast and shall be performed in the AEC mode, if available. If necessary, a suitable absorber may be placed in the beam to increase exposure times. The screen-film cassette combination used by the facility shall be used to test for this requirement and shall be placed in the normal location used for clinical procedures.
(B) Focal spot dimensions. Measured values of the focal spot length (dimension parallel to the anode cathode axis) and width (dimension perpendicular to the anode cathode axis) shall be within the tolerance limits specified in table 1.
Table 1
Focal Spot Tolerance Limit
Nominal Focal Spot Size (mm) Maximum Measured Dimensions
Width(mm) Length(mm)
0.10 0.15 0.15
0.15 0.23 0.23
0.20 0.30 0.30
0.30 0.45 0.65
0.40 0.60 0.85
0.60 0.90 1.30
(iv) Beam quality and half-value layer (HVL). The HVL shall meet the specifications of § 1020.30(m)(1) of this chapter for the minimum HVL. These values, extrapolated to the mammographic range, are shown in table 2. Values not shown in table 2 may be determined by linear interpolation or extrapolation.
Table 2
X-ray Tube Voltage (kilovolt peak) and Minimum HVL
Designed Operating Range (kV) Measured Operating Voltage (kV) Minimum HVL (millimeters of aluminum)
Below 50 20 0.20
25 0.25
30 0.30
(v) Breast entrance air kerma and AEC reproducibility. The coefficient of variation for both air kerma and mAs shall not exceed 0.05.
(vi) Dosimetry. The average glandular dose delivered during a single cranio-caudal view of an FDA-accepted phantom simulating a standard breast shall not exceed 3.0 milligray (mGy) (0.3 rad) per exposure. The dose shall be determined with technique factors and conditions used clinically for a standard breast.
(vii) X-ray field/light field/image receptor/compression paddle alignment.
(A) All systems shall have beam-limiting devices that allow the entire chest wall edge of the x-ray field to extend to the chest wall edge of the image receptor and provide means to assure that the x-ray field does not extend beyond any edge of the image receptor by more than 2 percent of the SID.
(B) If a light field that passes through the X-ray beam limitation device is provided, it shall be aligned with the X-ray field so that the total of any misalignment of the edges of the light field and the X-ray field along either the length or the width of the visually defined field at the plane of the breast support surface shall not exceed 2 percent of the SID.
(C) The chest wall edge of the compression paddle shall not extend beyond the chest wall edge of the image receptor by more than one percent of the SID when tested with the compression paddle placed above the breast support surface at a distance equivalent to standard breast thickness. The shadow of the vertical edge of the compression paddle shall not be visible on the image.
(viii) Uniformity of screen speed. Uniformity of screen speed of all the cassettes in the facility shall be tested and the difference between the maximum and minimum optical densities shall not exceed 0.30. Screen artifacts shall also be evaluated during this test.
(ix) System artifacts. System artifacts shall be evaluated with a high-grade, defect-free sheet of homogeneous material large enough to cover the mammography cassette and shall be performed for all cassette sizes used in the facility using a grid appropriate for the cassette size being tested. System artifacts shall also be evaluated for all available focal spot sizes and target filter combinations used clinically.
(x) Radiation output.
(A) The system shall be capable of producing a minimum output of 4.5 mGy air kerma per second (513 milli Roentgen (mR) per second) when operating at 28 kVp in the standard mammography (moly/moly) mode at any SID where the system is designed to operate and when measured by a detector with its center located 4.5 cm above the breast support surface with the compression paddle in place between the source and the detector. After October 28, 2002, the system, under the same measuring conditions shall be capable of producing a minimum output of 7.0 mGy air kerma per second (800 mR per second) when operating at 28 kVp in the standard (moly/moly) mammography mode at any SID where the system is designed to operate.
(B) The system shall be capable of maintaining the required minimum radiation output averaged over a 3.0 second period.
(xi) Decompression. If the system is equipped with a provision for automatic decompression after completion of an exposure or interruption of power to the system, the system shall be tested to confirm that it provides:
(A) An override capability to allow maintenance of compression;
(B) A continuous display of the override status; and
(C) A manual emergency compression release that can be activated in the event of power or automatic release failure.
(6) Quality control tests—other modalities. For systems with image receptor modalities other than screen-film, the quality assurance program shall be substantially the same as the quality assurance program recommended by the image receptor manufacturer, except that the maximum allowable dose shall not exceed the maximum allowable dose for screen-film systems in paragraph (e)(5)(vi) of this section.
(7) Mobile units. The facility shall verify that mammography units used to produce mammograms at more than one location meet the requirements in paragraphs (e)(1) through (e)(6) of this section. In addition, at each examination location, before any examinations are conducted, the facility shall verify satisfactory performance of such units using a test method that establishes the adequacy of the image quality produced by the unit.
(8) Use of test results.
(i) After completion of the tests specified in paragraphs (e)(1) through (e)(7) of this section, the facility shall compare the test results to the corresponding specified action limits; or, for nonscreen-film modalities, to the manufacturer's recommended action limits; or, for post-move, preexamination testing of mobile units, to the limits established in the test method used by the facility.
(ii) If the test results fall outside of the action limits, the source of the problem shall be identified and corrective actions shall be taken:
(A) Before any further examinations are performed or any films are processed using a component of the mammography system that failed any of the tests described in paragraphs (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(4)(i), (e)(4)(ii), (e)(4)(iii), (e)(5)(vi), (e)(6), or (e)(7) of this section;
(B) Within 30 days of the test date for all other tests described in paragraph (e) of this section.
(9) Surveys.
(i) At least once a year, each facility shall undergo a survey by a medical physicist or by an individual under the direct supervision of a medical physicist. At a minimum, this survey shall include the performance of tests to ensure that the facility meets the quality assurance requirements of the annual tests described in paragraphs (e)(5) and (e)(6) of this section and the weekly phantom image quality test described in paragraph (e)(2) of this section.
(ii) The results of all tests conducted by the facility in accordance with paragraphs (e)(1) through (e)(7) of this section, as well as written documentation of any corrective actions taken and their results, shall be evaluated for adequacy by the medical physicist performing the survey.
(iii) The medical physicist shall prepare a survey report that includes a summary of this review and recommendations for necessary improvements.
(iv) The survey report shall be sent to the facility within 30 days of the date of the survey.
(v) The survey report shall be dated and signed by the medical physicist performing or supervising the survey. If the survey was performed entirely or in part by another individual under the direct supervision of the medical physicist, that individual and the part of the survey that individual performed shall also be identified in the survey report.
(10) Mammography equipment evaluations. Additional evaluations of mammography units or image processors shall be conducted whenever a new unit or processor is installed, a unit or processor is disassembled and reassembled at the same or a new location, or major components of a mammography unit or processor equipment are changed or repaired. These evaluations shall be used to determine whether the new or changed equipment meets the requirements of applicable standards in paragraphs (b) and (e) of this section. All problems shall be corrected before the new or changed equipment is put into service for examinations or film processing. The mammography equipment evaluation shall be performed by a medical physicist or by an individual under the direct supervision of a medical physicist.
(11) Facility cleanliness.
(i) The facility shall establish and implement adequate protocols for maintaining darkroom, screen, and view box cleanliness.
(ii) The facility shall document that all cleaning procedures are performed at the frequencies specified in the protocols.
(12) Calibration of air kerma measuring instruments. Instruments used by medical physicists in their annual survey to measure the air kerma or air kerma rate from a mammography unit shall be calibrated at least once every 2 years and each time the instrument is repaired. The instrument calibration must be traceable to a national standard and calibrated with an accuracy of ±6 percent (95 percent confidence level) in the mammography energy range.
(13) Infection control. Facilities shall establish and comply with a system specifying procedures to be followed by the facility for cleaning and disinfecting mammography equipment after contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials. This system shall specify the methods for documenting facility compliance with the infection control procedures established and shall:
(i) Comply with all applicable Federal, State, and local regulations pertaining to infection control; and
(ii) Comply with the manufacturer's recommended procedures for the cleaning and disinfection of the mammography equipment used in the facility; or
(iii) If adequate manufacturer's recommendations are not available, comply with generally accepted guidance on infection control, until such recommendations become available.
(f) Quality assurance-mammography medical outcomes audit. Each facility shall establish and maintain a mammography medical outcomes audit program to followup positive mammographic assessments and to correlate pathology results with the interpreting physician's findings. This program shall be designed to ensure the reliability, clarity, and accuracy of the interpretation of mammograms.
(1) General requirements. Each facility shall establish a system to collect and review outcome data for all mammograms performed, including followup on the disposition of all positive mammograms and correlation of pathology results with the interpreting physician's mammography report. Analysis of these outcome data shall be made individually and collectively for all interpreting physicians at the facility. In addition, any cases of breast cancer among women imaged at the facility that subsequently become known to the facility shall prompt the facility to initiate followup on surgical and/or pathology results and review of the mammograms taken prior to the diagnosis of a malignancy.
(2) Frequency of audit analysis. The facility's first audit analysis shall be initiated no later than 12 months after the date the facility becomes certified, or 12 months after April 28, 1999, whichever date is the latest. This audit analysis shall be completed within an additional 12 months to permit completion of diagnostic procedures and data collection. Subsequent audit analyses will be conducted at least once every 12 months.
(3) Audit interpreting physician. Each facility shall designate at least one interpreting physician to review the medical outcomes audit data at least once every 12 months. This individual shall record the dates of the audit period(s) and shall be responsible for analyzing results based on this audit. This individual shall also be responsible for documenting the results and for notifying other interpreting physicians of their results and the facility aggregate results. If followup actions are taken, the audit interpreting physician shall also be responsible for documenting the nature of the followup.
(g) Mammographic procedure and techniques for mammography of patients with breast implants.
(1) Each facility shall have a procedure to inquire whether or not the patient has breast implants prior to the actual mammographic exam.
(2) Except where contraindicated, or unless modified by a physician's directions, patients with breast implants undergoing mammography shall have mammographic views to maximize the visualization of breast tissue.
(h) Consumer complaint mechanism. Each facility shall:
(1) Establish a written and documented system for collecting and resolving consumer complaints;
(2) Maintain a record of each serious complaint received by the facility for at least 3 years from the date the complaint was received;
(3) Provide the consumer with adequate directions for filing serious complaints with the facility's accreditation body if the facility is unable to resolve a serious complaint to the consumer's satisfaction;
(4) Report unresolved serious complaints to the accreditation body in a manner and timeframe specified by the accreditation body.
(i) Clinical image quality. Clinical images produced by any certified facility must continue to comply with the standards for clinical image quality established by that facility's accreditation body.
(j) Additional mammography review and patient notification.
(1) If FDA believes that mammography quality at a facility has been compromised and may present a serious risk to human health, the facility shall provide clinical images and other relevant information, as specified by FDA, for review by the accreditation body or other entity designated by FDA. This additional mammography review will help the agency to determine whether the facility is in compliance with this section and, if not, whether there is a need to notify affected patients, their physicians, or the public that the reliability, clarity, and accuracy of interpretation of mammograms has been compromised.
(2) If FDA determines that the quality of mammography performed by a facility, whether or not certified under § 900.11, was so inconsistent with the quality standards established in this section as to present a significant risk to individual or public health, FDA may require such facility to notify patients who received mammograms at such facility, and their referring physicians, of the deficiencies presenting such risk, the potential harm resulting, appropriate remedial measures, and such other relevant information as FDA may require. Such notification shall occur within a timeframe and in a manner specified by FDA.
[62 FR 55976, Oct. 28, 1997; 62 FR 60614, Nov. 10, 1997, as amended at 63 FR 56558, Oct. 22, 1998; 64 FR 18333, Apr. 14, 1999; 64 FR 32408, June 17, 1999; 65 FR 43690, July 14, 2000]

Title 21 published on 2014-04-01

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