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Scope of Practice, Code of Ethics, and Liability in Clinical Medical Physics Practice

B Parker1*, C Kirkby2*, B Elshahat3*, (1) The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Galveston, TX, (2) Jack Ady Cancer Centre, Lethbridge, AB, CA, (3) Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL


(Thursday, 7/16/2020) 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM [Eastern Time (GMT-4)]

Room: Track 6

While a Qualified Medical Physicist (QMP) may be certified, this only demonstrates competence in a clinical sub-specialty and bears very little relation to how the QMP actually conducts themselves in practice. Therefore, it is up to the profession to ensure that its members are practicing in a manner consistent with the best interests of the patients and the profession. This requires a clear specification of the profession’s Scope of Practice (SOP) for its members as well as pathways for addressing violations of the SOP or other unethical behavior. Code of Ethics (COE) established by both the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and the Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists (COMP) are in-place for its members, however has no actual legal binding. Therefore, gaps exist in the ability of the profession and its members to address inappropriate practices. Potential liability issues may also emanate from inappropriate practices which may negatively impact patient care.

Many recent updates from the AAPM in regards to their COE and SOP documents have occurred. Current work is similarly being performed by COMP. The overall intentions of these updates are that all members who practice Medical Physics, regardless of being a QMP or not, conduct themselves in a manner which is conducive to best practices and in an appropriate ethical manner.

This session will provide an overview of the current state of both the AAPM/COMP Code of Ethics and AAPM/COMP Scope of Practice documents. Perceived strengths and limitations of both of these documents will be presented.

Learning Objectives:
1. Provide the audience an overview of the AAPM/COMP Scope of Practices and future initiatives
2. Provide the audience an overview of the AAPM/COMP Code of Ethics and future initiatives
3. Update the audience on the current status of regulating Medical Physicists in the United States and Canada
4. Provide insight to AAPM and COMP members as to how they may wish to conduct themselves professionally



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