by Lisa Chamoff
, Contributing Reporter | October 22, 2014
From the September 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Sectra, which offers a web-based dose monitoring solution called DoseTrack, goes to the lengths of calculating actual organ doses. “What’s really important isn’t the base amount of radiation, but which organs are affected,” says Kevin Collins, vice president of product management at Sectra North America.
The software can make calculations based on study data and produce charts showing which organs were exposed and how much radiation the organs were exposed to.
“We’re just trying to get all the information we can,” Collins says.
Dominic Siewko, imaging systems radiation safety officer for Philips Healthcare, says although organ dose calculation is one of the next frontiers, any calculation is a rough estimation and therefore, not very clinically useful at the moment.
“Just because you’re calculating something doesn’t mean it’s adding value to the patient’s treatment,” Siewko says.
Keeping track of dose tracking
With all software out there from OEMs and independents to track and reduce radiation dose, how can facilities stay on top of it all? That’s where West Physics comes in. For the past two years, the company has offered what it calls a “turnkey” service that owner Geoff West says looks at everything holistically.
“What we’ve seen in a lot of centers is they buy dose-tracking software (but) there’s no one at the facility who knows what to do with all that information,” West says. “There needs to be somebody who is actually reviewing and chopping up this data to see where the trends are and knowing what to do with it.”
The company can log in to those different systems and maintain oversight, sending reports and providing recommendations in line with best practices.
“We’ll tell them your CT doses on brain with contrast is too high,” West says. The demand for this service has increased as facilities get ready for Joint Commission requirements.
“The radiologists are trained to read exams, they’re not trained to run dose reduction programs,” West says. “The medical physicist is really the radiation expert.”
The ACR’s Dose Index Registry — a data registry that allows facilities to compare their CT dose measurements to regional and national values — is another resource. ACR provides free, lightweight software that runs in the background at a facility. Data are sent automatically to the software from scanners, PACS, or third party dose monitoring software, and the anonymous data is stored in a database. The ACR provides facilities with periodic feedback reports comparing their results by body part and exam type to aggregate results.