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In today's business world it has become increasingly advantageous for organizations to collaborate through partnerships. Because complex projects require specialized skills and technology, it is often more efficient to form alliances with other organizations than to duplicate the needed skill sets and activities within each organization. Such cooperative arrangements help avoid the duplication of efforts and inefficient use of resources.

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) historically has collaborated with the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) on many projects and continues to capitalize on opportunities to work with our traditional partners. In recent years the ARRT has explored and executed collaborative relationships with additional organizations to work on certification projects. Two examples of such projects include the Nuclear Medicine Practitioner Certification Project and the Imaging Informatics Professional Certification Project.

Nuclear Medicine Practitioner

The Society of Nuclear Medicine--Technologist Section (SNM-TS) recently developed the concept of an advanced-practice nuclear medicine technologist. The concept has been formally endorsed by the SNM and the SNM-TS. The nuclear medicine practitioner (NMP) role parallels the role of an advanced practice radiographer (ie, the radiologist assistant) concept developed by the ASRT, ACR and ARRT. The ARRT learned a great deal about the nuances involved in creating a job position that merges the duties of 2 positions during the development of the radiologist assistant position.

Both the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) and the ARRT had an interest in providing a high-quality certification program for the NMP role, they decided to develop a certification program. Rather than work independently to develop separate programs, the NMTCB and ARRT decided to work together. This collaboration, announced in June 2006, will create a unified certification program for NMPs based on an equal sharing of responsibilities, authority and ownership by the NMTCB and ARRT. There are obvious advantages to working together, not only for the organizations but also for candidates and patients. There will be a single set of standards for the NMP and a unified process of certification that will eliminate the confusion and duplication of efforts that result from separate programs. The strengths of both NMTCB and ARRT will be used in the development of the program.

Both organizations had to review their traditional decision-making processes and adopt an approach that would support the collaboration. Two members of the NMTCB board and two members of the ARRT board will serve as an intermediary decision-making body, positioned between the full boards and a jointly-formed advisory committee. The intermediary body will serve a number of the functions currently performed by the full boards for existing certification programs, but the full boards will retain ultimate responsibility and authority for the program.

Imaging Informatics Professional

The Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) and the ARRT announced a joint venture to develop a certification program for the imaging informatics professional (also known as PACS administrators) in September 2006. Although similar to the NMTCB and ARRT collaboration in that 2 organizations are involved, this project differs in that 1 of the organizations is a professional society rather than a stand-alone certification organization.

As a professional society, SIIM focuses on "the advancement of computer applications and information technology in medical imaging through education and research." SIIM began developing a certification program in 2005 with plans to spin off a certification subsidiary under the professional society's umbrella.

The ARRT identified PACS administrators as an area of interest for its certification activities because about half of those performing this role are R.T.s. The fact that the other half were from an information technology (IT) background made ARRT's entry into this area less clear-cut than if candidates' backgrounds were solely in medical imaging and radiation therapy.

Both organizations recognized that there were major advantages to the imaging informatics profession of a collaborative approach by the 2 organizations, with each contributing their unique expertise and resources. SIIM brings a wealth of content-specific expertise, while ARRT has extensive experience in the policies and procedures of certification.

The new certification program will merge medical (clinical) and corporate (IT) models into 1 comprehensive exam and will provide a certification appropriate for both R.T. and IT professionals. The first exam is scheduled for late 2007.

In addition to the development of a new certification program, a new governance structure will be established. The structure will be consistent with the requirements of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies so that accreditation of the certification program is attainable. ARRT will have representation on this governance board in addition to being directly involved in the development and administration of the certification program.

Models of Collaboration

ARRT's past collaborative efforts were of a different nature than those discussed here. Prior models involved gathering input from other organizations on ARRT's certification programs or providing input into a project that was primarily another organization's responsibility. The current collaborations, however, jointly share responsibility and authority for the projects. Although the collaboration with NMTCB and SIIM have similarities, both differ due to their unique circumstances.

ARRT will continue to explore developing alliances with other organizations to ensure that high-quality certification programs are available to the profession, while minimizing the redundancies and inefficiencies that have occurred with prior approaches to certification when multiple certification organizations are involved.
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Title Annotation:RE: REGISTRY; radiology research; Society of Nuclear Medicine and The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
Author:Reid, Jerry
Publication:Radiologic Technology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2006
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