Who are diagnostic medical sonographers?
- Diagnostic medical sonographers (DMS) are professionals integral to the healthcare team. Through the application of ultrasound imaging, DMS play a critical role in the diagnostic care and management of a patient.
- Sonographers practice in the public health sector as well as in physician community clinics.
- DMS perform procedures, including general, obstetrical, cardiac, vascular and musculoskeletal imaging.
The journey to regulation of DMS
In 2013, sonographers made a decision that they wanted to pursue self-regulation. The Alberta Diagnostic Sonographers Association (ADSA) approached ACMDTT.
A robust stakeholder consultation was undertaken with:
- Alberta Health Services
- Cardiology groups in Alberta
- Alberta Society of Radiologists
- College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta – Diagnostic Imaging Advisory
- All accredited diagnostic imaging facilities in Alberta
- All regulated health Colleges in Alberta
- Sonography Canada
- Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
The consultation confirmed that there was significant momentum in the profession to regulate DMS for the protection of the public in Alberta.
In 2014, Alberta Health declared its support of the regulation of DMS through the ACMDTT.
In 2016, the Health Professions Act (HPA) was amended to provide the pathway for assurance of public protection, leading to greater public awareness and confidence in what diagnostic medical sonographers practice.
In late 2017, it is expected that regulations will be passed by the Alberta Government which will declare DMS to be officially regulated through ACMDTT.
What regulation means to the public
- Assurance that all sonographers are highly trained health professionals that meet established standards for entry-to-practice and throughout the practice of their profession.
- A fair and transparent process for complaints and unprofessional conduct issues is established.
- The public has access to a full registry of all registered sonographers practicing in Alberta.
- All sonographers are required to continue to meet professional development requirements for their profession.
- All sonographers have to abide by the College’s Code of Ethics.
To learn more about the regulatory framework and what it means to be a regulated health professional in Alberta, please watch the following webinar – click here.
What regulation means to sonographers
- The public is protected, and the profession of DMS is more highly respected through regulation.
- DMS are recognized as members of a profession.
- DMS have defined standards for accountability and discipline, increasing confidence in their professional abilities and competencies.
- Standards are maintained and enhanced for the benefit of the profession and the public.
- Sonographers participate in defining and maintaining pride of practice standards and professionalism within their chosen occupation within which they have a substantial ownership stake.
What establishes self-regulation?
- The Health Professions Act (HPA) is a law that was proclaimed in Alberta in 2001.
- The HPA creates the health Colleges and delegates regulatory authority.
- ACMDTT was proclaimed under the HPA in 2005.
- The primary purpose of regulation is the protection of the public.
- Colleges are governed by members of the professions.
What is self-regulation?
- Members of a profession are best suited to govern their own profession, based on their professional knowledge, skills and judgment.
- It is granted by the the provincial government on behalf of the people of Alberta.
- Self regulation is a privilege, not a right.
This video from the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario provides a general overview about self-regulation. There are similarities with the self-regulation of DMS.
What does this mean for current members of the ACMDTT?
- The College is very pleased to broaden its umbrella to include our diagnostic imaging colleagues. ACMDTT is a natural fit based on the consistencies and parallels already present with the medical radiation technologists (MRT) and electroneurophysiology technologists (ENP) specialties. From the perspective of public protection, it just makes good sense!
- We anticipate that there will be no negative effect on MRTs and ENPs. Inclusion of this group of additional members will likely balance the additional costs associated with regulating another register of practitioners and collaborating with their national association.
What does this mean for sonographers?
- In the future, permits to practice all applications and specialties performed in diagnostic medical sonography (general, cardiac and/or vascular) in Alberta will be managed through the ACMDTT; this includes areas of practice such as musculoskeletal, fetal, cardiac, pediatric, etc.
- It is anticipated that credentialed sonographers who met specified criteria would transition to a provincial register; other competent practitioners would be grand-parented at this time of regulation based on an assessment of professional experience, education and/or certification.
- The grand-parenting window will be determined by the College and Alberta Health.
- It is not anticipated that the regulation of sonographers will have any significant impact on practitioner availability and services to the public.
- Following the grand-parenting window, sonographers will be assessed individually for registration on a prescribed list of criteria that will be published by the ACMDTT.
Colleges are governed by members of the profession
- Members determine entry to practice eligibility.
- Members set the standards for the profession.
- Members identify how to assess competence.
- Members set standards of conduct, and issues of unprofessional conduct are reviewed by their peers.
- Members define all College fees.
Participate in a survey of the draft standards for the profession
- If you are currently practicing sonography in Alberta, and ACMDTT has your email address, you will receive an invitation to participate in a survey of a draft of the standards.
- Please send us an email with your name, place of employment, email address and contact phone number if you wish to receive the invitation to DMS@acmdtt.com.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Advisory Group
- Currently the ACMDTT is being guided and advised by a DMS Advisory Group and sub-groups comprised of the DMS professions.
- DMS Advisory Group Terms of Reference
- One-time initial application – $100
- Annual registration – $450
Schedule of Presentations on Self-Regulation for DMS
- March 22, 2017 – Medical Imaging Consultants (MIC) Leadership Group – Edmonton
- March 28, 2017 – Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) School of Health & Life Sciences – DMS students – Edmonton
- March 29, 2017 – Alberta Health Services (AHS), Edmonton Zone, Telehealth presentation
- April 12, 2017 – MIC – Presentation for DMS – Edmonton
- May 1, 2017 – NAIT – Presentation to DMS students – Edmonton
- May 4, 2017 – Covenant Health – Presentation for DMS – Misericordia Hospital, Edmonton
- May 16, 2017 – Insight Medical Imaging – Edmonton
- May 17, 2017 – AHS Calgary DMS – Telehealth – morning session
- May 17, 2017 – AHS Calgary DMS – Telehealth – noon session
- May 17, 2017 – AHS Calgary Digital Imaging Operations
- May 17, 2017 – Canada Diagnostic Centres – Calgary
- May 18, 2017 – Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) DMS Students – Calgary
- June 1, 2017 – Province-wide Telehealth Presentation – evening session
- June 8, 2017 – EFW Radiology – Calgary
- June 21, 2017 – University of Alberta Hospital – Edmonton
- June 26, 2017 – CAMIS (Central Alberta Medical Imaging Services) – Red Deer and central Alberta)
- June 26, 2017 – Echocardiography – Alberta Children’s Hospital – Calgary
- June 27, 2017 – Pureform Radiology – Calgary
- June 27, 2017 – Mayfair Diagnostics – Calgary
- Future presentations are being planned for Canada Diagnostics Centres (Edmonton), among other organizations.
If you would like a presentation on DMS Self-Regulation, email Colin MacPhail at email@example.com.
For further information, please click on the link below:
Government of Alberta website
For additional questions, please contact the College at firstname.lastname@example.org.