Early Adopters of Dose Management Tools See Big Benefit from Data, Analytics and Education

As more and more hospitals look to manage dose levels, this emphasizes a growing acceptance the radiation management solution in an optimum means to reduce patient exposure to radiation doses during imaging procedures.

Despite recent advancements in medical technology, patients continue to develop illnesses in the same hospitals where they seek treatment. Diagnostic imaging tests like X-rays and CT scans can expose people to as much as six times more radiation than 35 years ago — a dangerous amount that can lead to increased risk of cancer. With more than 72 million DITs performed each year, it’s more important than ever that patients are measured and monitored using an accurate dose management program.

The following infographic from GE Healthcare paints the picture a bit more clearly.

This entry is not meant to be a commercial for the product (though I wish it were because then I might be able to charge for it), it simply points to some information that was forwarded to me that I think is neat.

A recent post on the GE Healthcare blog points out the following that is interesting: As early adopters of GE’s Dosewatch dose management capabilities, Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall, Michigan, and Cullman Regional Medical Center in Alabama join more than 180 providers in the U.S. and Europe working to ensure patient welfare is optimized as they undergo medical imaging procedures as part of their treatment.

The clinical benefits gained by using radiation during procedures, such as computed tomography (CT), is tempered by the fact that the typical organ doses from CT can be higher than those from other radiology procedures that utilize ionizing radiation.

Although CT accounts for only about 15 percent of all radiological procedures, it contributes more than 50 percent of the collective radiation dose to the population from diagnostic radiology.

This increase in dosage exposure has led to a recent change of direction within the medical device industry that has led to a series of measures designed to develop, implement and adhere to a low-dose imaging program.

These measures help ensure that patients can receive the medical benefits of CT, interventional and X-Ray technology while minimizing potential risks associated with radiation dose.

In July 2012, the California Department of Health (CDPH) set forth a radiation safety bill requiring healthcare providers to track, record and report all CT dose information and incidents on all patients and exams.

Many large Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs) in states like New York, Florida and Tennessee began constructing radiation safety programs prior to the mandate.

And a mandate by the Texas Department of State Health Service (TDSHS) became effective May 2013, stating that all healthcare providers using fluoroscopy and computed tomography imaging services must have a radiation dose program in place.

As part of an $800 million investment in low-dose technologies over 15 years, GE introduced DoseWatch in 2011 with capabilities that allowed capturing of standardized dose information on CT, interventional, mammography and X-ray systems from a range of equipment vendors.

Such a program aligns with American College of Radiology recommendations, which call for “education for all stakeholders in the principles of radiation safety [and] the appropriate utilization of imaging to minimize any associated radiation risk,” among other measures such as a robust quality assurance program.

GE Healthcare is working with Oaklawn Hospital and Cullman Regional Medical Center in building a strategic roadmap for a comprehensive radiation dose management strategy.

Whatever the setting, the complexity of implementing this goal increases when the healthcare provider has a mix of equipment and technologies, different protocols to manage and a broad group of users who may have differing levels of knowledge.

However, this challenge is addressed with a comprehensive dose management, education and quality assurance strategy using tools and methods currently available.

Oaklawn’s installation saw DoseWatch directly connected to its 64 slice VCT CT scanner to capture the data from each exam. The reporting and analysis functionality of DoseWatch enabled staff to easily review protocols and improve training.

Likewise Cullman Regional Medical Center took on a similar installation strategy in which DoseWatch was connected to the hospital’s GE LightSpeed 16 CT scanner, GE BrightSpeed CT scanner, and GE Senographe DS Mammography scanner.

Over a five-month period the Cullman Regional Medical Center was able to reduce the number of radiation exposure events that exceeded the threshold established by 54 percent.

Dosewatch enabled staff to further understand dose management and patient safety and further reinforced the need to educate hospital staff.

When done, clearly, a tool worthy considering and a effort worthy of the cause.

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