Contrast supervision refers to direct supervision by a qualified healthcare professional during medical imaging procedures involving the administration of contrast agents. Proper and effective contrast supervision requires closely monitoring for adverse reactions and being prepared to promptly respond to any emergencies that may arise.
Until 2020, direct supervision meant that a healthcare professional must be physically present in the imaging center while contrast was administered. However, during the public health emergency, CMS altered the definition of “direct supervision” to permit the presence and “immediate availability” of the supervising provider through “real-time audio and visual interactive telecommunications”. The recent rule change has benefited both patients and imaging centers alike, resulting in improved access to care for patients and cost savings to imaging centers by eliminating the need for expensive and resource intensive onsite supervision.
Ensuring patient safety during contrast-enhanced exams is of utmost importance. Proper virtual contrast supervision by qualified healthcare professionals allows for immediate intervention in case of an adverse reaction. Contrast supervision also enables imaging centers to remain compliant with regulatory guidelines, rules, and standards, which reduces legal and financial risks. Finally, by taking advantage of virtual contrast supervision, imaging centers can reliably perform more contrast-enhanced exams while remaining compliant with legal and regulatory requirements.