by Nancy Ryerson
, Staff Writer | April 16, 2013
Southern Pennsylvania hospitals proved that CT dose management doesn't have to involve pricey new equipment and software — just focus and dedication. Facilities participating in a CT dose management collaborative experienced an 87 percent improvement in dose tracking after just one year, simply by making changes in work processes.
Around 20 facilities participated in the collaborative, led by ECRI Institute and Health Care Improvement Foundation.
"We didn't have the goal to reduce CT dose, we wanted to control it," said Jason Launders, director of operations in the health devices group at ECRI Institute, to DOTmed News. He noted that because the jury is still out on how much dose is too much dose, the goal was to keep track and identify problem areas, rather than reduce numbers arbitrarily.
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Initially, many facilities were hesitant to commit the necessary time and resources to track dose in every study.
Some facilities lacked software to automatically track dose and had to record measurements manually.
"Even if they had to do it by hand, they still did it," said Patricia Neumann, Senior Patient Safety Analyst at ECRI Institute. "That was the biggest improvement in the project."
While facilities were not pushed to invest in new technology, Launders said, they were driven to change workflow and protocol.
"It needed to be more than education, because that doesn't necessarily last," Neumann said.
Changes were made in workflow, staff protocols, equipment protocols and expectations between staff members, Launders said.
"You need to be committed to change," Launders said. "You can have all the technology in the world, but unless you're using it in an intelligent way, it won't make a difference."
Going forward, ECRI Institute and the Health Care Improvement Foundation plan to continue raising awareness on the issue of CT radiation dose concerns.