We are installing our first full field digital mammography unit. What should we know about getting ready for the physicist acceptance test?

The most common oversights in the installation of new FFDM units relate to the hard-copy printer. Since the radiologists read mammograms on the soft copy workstations, it’s common for facilities to consider of the printer as an afterthought. (See FAQ on this subject). Other items to remember:

  • As in all mammography installations, everything has to pass before the physicist can provide a report to the ACR. Unlike the annual physicist survey, the testing performed after installation (called a Mammography Equipment Evaluation or MEE) does not allow for the 30 day margin in correcting deficiencies. All deficiencies must be corrected before the unit may be used clinically.
  • Be sure all connectivity is enabled. The physicist must not only test the FFDM unit but also the radiologist viewing stations and the printer.
  • If remote viewing stations are being installed, be sure arrangements can be made to have the physicist visit the various sites.
  • Be sure the physicist has access to all pertinent QC manuals — from the FFDM manufacturer, the soft copy workstation manufacturer and also from the printer manufacturer. Your physicist may request copies of these manuals in advance of the acceptance test in the event he is not familiar with the particular model.

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