The Quality Standard for Imaging (QSI)
- QSI stage 0 Start the conversation: You want to find out more about the QSI process. Services can informally start working on the QSI.
- QSI stage 1 Start the process: You apply for a business case for QSI staff and, if possible, accreditation costs.
- QSI stage 2 Gap analysis and dedicated staff. You are working through the initial stages of a gap analysis.
- QSI stage 3 Gap analysis and dedicated staff: You are working through the initial stages of a gap analysis.
- QSI stage 4 Apply for accreditation: You apply for accreditation with UKAS or have a rolling QSI quality programme.
- QSI stage 5 Accreditation and continuous quality improvement: You have been successfully accredited and have adopted a continuous cycle of quality improvement.
Supporting and enabling quality improvement in imaging services.
The Quality Standards for Imaging (QSI) sets national quality criteria for imaging services. It is a collaboration between The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) and The College of Radiographers (CoR), to improve the quality of care for people attending an imaging service.
QSI is a developmental standard and underpins the colleges’ vision that all providers of imaging services be invested in a continuous quality improvement journey. QSI allows services to evaluate their performance and develop where needed to continually improve patient experience and outcomes.
QSI represents the judgements of panels of lay representatives, radiographers, radiologists, medical physicists, and sonographers who have overseen its creation and revision. It reflects wide consultation and valuable comments and suggestions received from professional colleagues, relevant UK government agencies and professional and regulatory bodies.
We are pleased to announce the launch of the latest version of the Quality Standards for Imaging (QSI) – with updated notes to provide additional clarification and access to the latest guidance for radiology departments and imaging services.
Benefits of the QSI
QSI sets out best practice to improve patient care and outcomes. Accreditation against the standard has been and will continue to be the hallmark of a quality imaging service. Clinical practice is a continually evolving field, and the QSI will be independently reviewed every four years.
|Here are some of the benefits that QSI can bring to your service:|
Services can use the standard as part of their internal improvement assessment or can apply for accreditation. The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) delivers accreditation against all elements of QSI, providing formal third-party recognition that a provider has demonstrated their organisational competence to deliver high-quality imaging services.
You can find which services in the UK have already attained accreditation and you can find their details here. The standard applies to all four UK countries and includes NHS, commercial and not-for-profit imaging services in any of those countries.
A staged approach
Frequently Asked Questions
How do the Colleges help me meet the standard QSI work?
The Colleges are continually developing a range of supporting resources such as guidance and best practice documents and using these documents will support services in achieving accreditation.
How do we access the Colleges’ support?
The Quality Improvement Partners (QIP’s) are available by email, phone or to visit your department where appropriate. Online resources, including the standard and development and support tool, can be found here or at CoR QSI
Further resources and support are available on the FutureNHS QSI platform along with information on our regular monthly meetings and dates for training/networking days
If you would like to become a member of the FutureNHS QSI group or join our monthly meetings, contact the QIP’s at QSI@rcr.ac.uk
Does QSI apply to all four UK countries?
Yes – and to NHS, commercial and not for profit imaging services in any of the four UK countries. The notes for each standard contain the appropriate relevant information for all four countries.
How much will this cost?
There will be no charge for the support made available through the Colleges. UKAS will continue to charge fees for assessment and accreditation.
What is the role of UKAS with the QSI?
UKAS is the independent accreditation body for the UK and works with the Colleges to support those services who wish to apply for independent accreditation. UKAS will assess services that have applied to become accredited and to grant accreditation. Accreditation demonstrates that you have all the systems in place for a competent, safe, effective, and continually improving imaging service
Do we have to be UKAS accredited?
The QSI process allows your service to build the evidence base for accreditation. UKAS undertake assessments for accreditation independently against the QSI. UKAS Accreditation is recommended by NHS England/Improvement and the CQC in England and is supported by the statutory healthcare bodies across the UK.
Our service is in the application process or is already accredited - what does this change mean for us?
The only change will be the enhanced support available through the Colleges using the colleges’ development and support tool (.xlsx) on the QSI web pages. Support will be provided by your allocated UKAS assessment manager with regard to the assessment process.
Can I use the QSI even if we are going for accreditation?
Yes. The QSI enables services to develop quality improvement building on their existing evidence base. By working through the standard, you can be assured that the entire evidence healthcare regulators require will be easily available within your quality management system and a quality culture is embedded across your service.
Is QSI recognised by regulators?
The CQC and devolved nation equivalents (RQIA, HIW, HIS) provide regulation for services via rules and guidance which must be followed as a legal requirement. The QSI considers quality with specific reference to imaging services. Imaging services are obliged to meet their legal obligations via the CQC and other healthcare regulators. In meeting the QSI you will have approval from a professional body that you have met an external standard that exceeds the baseline requirements of regulators and embeds the culture of quality improvement within your team.
How can I find out which services have been accredited to the standard?
The full list of accredited services can be found on the UKAS website.
Helping you reach your goals – support for the QSI
The Colleges are continually developing a range of supporting resources such as guidance and best practice documents and using these documents will support services in achieving accreditation. Ongoing colleges support is available via the QIP’s and other college staff.
Quality Improvement Partner
The Quality Improvement Partners (QIP’s) are available by email, phone or to visit your department where appropriate to provide advice and to support you through the QSI process.
Development and Support tool
The development and support tool has been designed to help services assess themselves against the QSI and provides examples of evidence required to meet the standard.
Further resources, advice and support are available through the FutureNHS QSI platform along with information on our regular monthly meetings and dates for training/networking days.
QSI monthly meetings
Regular QSI meetings covering a range of topics, including ultrasound QA, IR(ME)R and more
Introduction to QSI
This presentation is to provide support to services and leads who are just starting their QSI journey. It includes presentations from the QIPs and experienced QSI leads and is designed to help you identify your next steps.
If you would like more information or to join any of these sessions, please email QSI@rcr.ac.uk
Alongside these resources, there is a range of templates and guides that services may find helpful and can be used as a guide:
Example Policy and SOP’s
University Hospitals Dorset have kindly shared a policy and standard operating policy template
The Quality Standards for Imaging networks
With the national direction of developing imaging networks across the UK, The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) and The College of Radiographers (CoR) have been working to develop the Quality Standard for Imaging Networks (QSIN). The QSIN is written to stand alone; and emerging or nascent networks can use it to help develop their governance and quality improvement processes.