Module - Diagnostic Radiology: Equipment Performance


Work-based learning outcomes


  1. Measure and record levels and characteristics of radiation
  2. Calibrate and test equipment that measures radiation
  3. Perform measurements appropriate to safety testing, commissioning and periodic routine testing of a wide range of diagnostic systems
  4. Devise an appropriate test schedule for safety testing, commissioning and routine testing for a diagnostic imaging system new to the trainee
  5. Devise and undertake the specification and evaluation of new diagnostic systems

Work-based Competencies


Learning outcome Title Knowledge
1 2

Decide on appropriate tests to apply to the assessment of the measuring device to ensure that it is performing according to its specified standard

  • Monitor specifications, the range of radiations they cover and performance
  • Radiation characteristics
  • The correct application of national guidance on testing of radiation monitors
  • Requirements for traceability of standards
  • Appropriate contractors to use
  • Local procedures and work instructions
  • Safe handling of sealed/unsealed radioactive sources
  • Calibration factors
  • Applicability of the results
  • Range of dose rates and energies appropriate to clinical use
2 1

Undertake and/or arrange for tests to be carried out in an environment, and with facilities, that are appropriate and traceable to national standards

  • Monitor specifications, the range of radiations they cover and performance
  • Radiation characteristics
  • The correct application of national guidance on testing of radiation monitors
  • Requirements for traceability of standards
  • Appropriate contractors to use
  • Local procedures and work instructions
  • Safe handling of sealed/unsealed radioactive sources
  • Calibration factors
  • Applicability of the results
  • Range of dose rates and energies appropriate to clinical use
3 2

Obtain and interpret the results of tests and calibrations and report on the performance on the equipment

  • Monitor specifications, the range of radiations they cover and performance
  • Radiation characteristics
  • The correct application of national guidance on testing of radiation monitors
  • Requirements for traceability of standards
  • Appropriate contractors to use
  • Local procedures and work instructions
  • Safe handling of sealed/unsealed radioactive sources
  • Calibration factors
  • Applicability of the results
  • Range of dose rates and energies appropriate to clinical use
4 3

Safely operate and perform routine quality assurance measurements on simple X-ray equipment for quality assurance (eg dental, mobile and general radiography), using a range of image detector technologies

  • Safe operation of equipment
  • The implications of unsafe performance for staff and patients
  • Awareness of different designs, eg table and wall buckies, mobile systems, chest radiography systems
  • Different types of detector systems, theory of image capture and production
  • Film screen systems, computed radiography and digital radiography
  • Appropriate test protocols for different detector systems
  • Principle of projection radiography
  • Technology behind different test equipment
  • Current national quality assurance guidance
5 3,5

Perform commissioning and acceptance tests on simple X-ray equipment and detectors

  • Safe operation of equipment
  • The implications of unsafe performance for staff and patients
  • Commissioning specific tests
  • Engineering safety features
  • Appropriate warning signs and signals
6 1

Safely operate and perform routine quality assurance measurements on mammography equipment

  • Safe operation of equipment
  • The implications of unsafe performance for staff and patients
  • Awareness of the differences in design between mammography and general equipment in the context of choosing the correct test equipment and appropriate test protocols
  • Different types of detector systems
  • Current national quality assurance guidance
7 3,5

Perform commissioning and acceptance tests on mammography equipment

  • Safe operation of equipment
  • The implications of unsafe performance for staff and patients
  • Commissioning specific tests
  • Engineering safety features
  • Appropriate warning signs and signals
8 3

Safely operate fluoroscopy systems and perform appropriate routine quality  assurance measurements

  • Awareness of different designs, C-Arm, under or over-table tubes, bi-plane rooms, mobile units
  • Current national quality assurance guidance
9 3,5

Perform commissioning and acceptance tests on fluoroscopy equipment

  • Safe operation of equipment
  • The implications of unsafe performance for staff and patients
  • Commissioning specific tests
  • Engineering safety features
  • Appropriate warning signs and signals
  • Scatter measurements
10 3

Safely operate CT systems and perform appropriate routine quality assurance measurements

  • Safe operation of equipment
  • The implications of unsafe performance for staff and patients
  • Practical use of dosimetric quantities such as CTDIc and CTDIw
  • Basic theoretical knowledge of the image production
  • Effect of kV and reconstruction kernel on the images obtained for quality assurance
  • Current national quality assurance guidance
  • An awareness of the different modes of operation of CT scanners, including axial, helical, dual energy and fluoroscopy imaging
  • Relevance of different methods of operation to clinical use
  • Potential for difference in results according to mode of operation
11 3,5

Perform commissioning and acceptance tests on CT X-ray equipment

  • Safe operation of equipment
  • The implications of unsafe performance for staff and patients
  • Commissioning specific tests
  • Engineering safety features
  • Appropriate warning signs and signals
  • Scatter measurements
12 4

Devise test schedule for a diagnostic imaging system new to the trainee

  • National guidance and its correct application
  • Clinical use of equipment
  • Appropriate choice of clinical user tests and test equipment
  • Risk management – cost/benefit
13 4

Instigate corrective action based on an evaluation of safety performance results

  • Likelihood and prevalence of risks and the impact on patient safety, experience and care
14 4

Critically review safety performance programmes and make recommendations  if appropriate

  • Equipment parameters that may affect safe use, and mechanisms of testing Interlocks and engineering controls used to restrict exposure
15 5

Devise and undertake a critical examination for complex equipment, for example a cardiac intervention suite or CT scanner

The risks associated with the clinical operation of the equipment, the importance and function of relevant interlocks and safety features, and the implications for staff and patients

Work-based assessment


Complete 2 Case-Based Discussion(s)
Complete 1 of the following DOPS and/or OCEs
Type Title
DOPS Test leakage of an X-ray tube
DOPS Beam quality assessment for a diagnostic X-ray machine
DOPS Measure radiation output for a diagnostic X-ray machine
DOPS Perform scattered dose rate measurements
DOPS Assess light field / radiation field alignment
DOPS Calibrate and performance test a PACS reporting workstation
DOPS Assess the performance of an automatic exposure control system on a radiographic unit
DOPS Measure the radiation air Kerma for a mammography machine
DOPS Measure tube voltages on a CT scanner
DOPS Measure the focal spot on an x-ray machine
DOPS Measure intensifier input dose rates in fluroscopy and acquisition modes for continuous and pulsed modes of operation
DOPS Measure the scattered dose rate around a fluoroscopy x- ray unit
DOPS Measure the radiation air Kerma for a bone densitometry machine
OCE Assess and interpret image quality and dose using a clinical phantom