The utilization of diagnostic radiation is a key part to proper healthcare diagnosis and as such can help save lives. However, the over utilization of ionizing radiation has detrimental and sometimes disastrous effects. In an effort to find the most effective balance, hospitals and imaging centers are considering strategies to design and implement integrated dose reduction across modalities. They have, however, encountered many internal issues. Read on to learn more about the initial steps to take in order to implement a comprehensive CT dose reduction strategy for your hospital or imaging center.
The main issues that must be addressed when implementing a dose reduction strategy tend to be:
- Equipment technology vendor mix
- Different/disparate technologies that use radiation for diagnoses or treatment (radiology is not the only place where radiation is used)
- Standardizing the different interdepartmental policies and protocols that exist throughout an organization
- Education and ongoing training of users across departments with varying levels of knowledge and experience in their jobs
Patients also present their own issues, with their broad mix of diseases and varying levels of “knowledge” regarding the use of radiation. Events presented in the media and misinformation from their non-healthcare peers can create questions and concerns about radiation risk that may or may not be unfounded, but certainly need to be addressed.
The first step is to take an inventory of where your institution is today. What policies and procedures exist with relation to an overall dose management/reduction solution? Define the leadership within the organization that will champion the cause. Then, seek out areas of opportunity on your existing equipment that can be improved and make the easy changes first. This exercise will help you to implement “best practices” with the technology you have today that you may not be taking full advantage of. Specific to CT, do you have the ability to modulate the tube current? Are we scanning according to the patients BMI? Have we optimized the parameters of each type of scan? Evaluate your current technology and determine what can be adapted to meet the current needs. Finally, put in place an educational program that will train new and experienced personnel, as well as an educational program that can address the needs of your patients.
After you’ve taken these 5 steps, you should be able to answer the following questions: Have you done everything you can with what you have? Are your solutions implemented and consistent across all departments and facilities including radiology, radiation oncology, women’s health, outpatient imaging services, the cancer center etc.? Does your training program address the current and forecasted needs of your employees and of your patients?
And finally, are you tracking your progress from today forward on all fronts in dose management and reduction? From the types of exams you perform, to the techniques you use, to the monitoring, recording and tracking of patient dose etc. Have you created a starting point after which you can measure your progress moving forward?
The Safe Solution
SafeCT is a cost effective solution for image enhancement from any CT images acquired using low dose and other protocols. SafeCT is an iterative image reconstruction system that provides unsurpassed image quality on any CT images acquired at any exposure parameters. It works with all vendor’s CTs 4 slices or greater. Some of SafeCT’s other benefits include:
- Vendor neutral design, communicate with any PACS or RIS system
- Centralized IT managed solution across all CT scanners / departments / geographic locations
- Fast installation, no downtime, no revenue loss, immediate results
- No departmental change in workflow for radiologist or technologists
- Cost: a fraction of an OEM solution
- No need to replace existing CT Scanners
To learn more, please visit us at the 2012 RSNA Booth 4032 or if you have any other questions, we are always here to help you out. Feel free to contact us at any time.