Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists

Diagnostic Medical Sonography

DMS rostering update

Alberta Health is currently amending the Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists Profession Regulation (“the Regulation”) under the Health Professions Act (HPA), which will direct our college to regulate diagnostic medical sonographers (DMSs) within Alberta. Mandatory registration/regulation of DMSs will start once the amendment to the Regulation comes into effect.

If you are practicing diagnostic medical sonography in Alberta, you may volunteer to apply to be on the Alberta DMS Roster. This will help ease the transition into registration once DMSs become regulated.

Who are diagnostic medical sonographers?

  • Diagnostic medical sonographers (DMSs) are integral to the healthcare team. Through the application of ultrasound imaging, DMSs 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.
  • DMSs perform imaging procedures including general, obstetrical, cardiac, vascular and musculoskeletal imaging.

The journey to regulation of DMS

In 2013, sonographers made a decision to pursue regulation. The Alberta Diagnostic Sonographers Association (ADSA) approached the College.

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 DMSs for the protection of the public in Alberta.

In 2014, Alberta Health declared its support of the regulation of DMSs through the College.

In 2016, the 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.

What regulation means to the public

  • Assurance that all sonographers practicing in Alberta are highly trained health professionals who 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 and Standards of Practice.

What regulation means to sonographers

  • The public is protected.
  • The profession of diagnostic medical sonography is more highly respected because sonographers participate in defining and maintaining entry-to-practice requirements and standards of practice and professionalism within their chosen occupation.
  • DMSs have defined standards for accountability and discipline, increasing confidence in their professional abilities and competencies.
  • Having a regulatory body to establish and administer standards for registration and practice protects the public from incompetent and unqualified practitioners.

What establishes regulation of health professions?

  • The Health Professions Act (HPA) was proclaimed in Alberta in 2001.
  • The HPA creates health colleges and delegates regulatory authority.
  • Our college was proclaimed under the HPA in 2005.
  • The primary purpose of regulation is protection of the public.
  • Colleges are governed by a council that includes members of the professions and members of the public.

What does this mean for current members of the College?

  • The College is very pleased to broaden our umbrella to include our diagnostic imaging colleagues. Our college is a natural fit based on the consistencies and parallels already present with the medical radiation technologist (MRT) and electroneurophysiology technologist (ENP) professions.

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 College; this includes areas of practice such as musculoskeletal, fetal, cardiac, pediatric, etc.
  • It is anticipated that credentialed sonographers who meet specified criteria will transition to a provincial register; other competent practitioners will be grandparented at this time of regulation based on an assessment of professional experience, education and/or certification.
  • The grandparenting 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 grandparenting window, sonographers will be assessed individually for registration on a prescribed list of criteria that will be published by the College.
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