by Christina Hwang
, Contributing Reporter | May 11, 2016
Radiation exposure has become an increasingly important topic in health care — for patients and providers alike.
The rules are changing and improved technology is paving the way for a safer hospital atmosphere for everyone. Dominic Siewko, clinical marketing manager for Philips’ DoseWise Solutions, told HCB News how dose monitoring has evolved, what it will look like in the future, and how hospitals can do the most for radiation safety with the least financial investment.
HCB News: Can you briefly summarize the 2015 Joint Commission rules on patient dose?
The Joint Commission standards introduced in July 2015 require hospitals to establish stricter radiation dose management processes, and is asking health care providers to now become more aware of the radiation dose they are giving to patients diagnostically. More specifically, they are asking health care providers to pay attention to exam ordering and CT protocols, increase staff education around best practices to implement, and enact general improvements in data collection and analysis.
HCB News: What precautions can radiologists take to reduce radiation exposure?
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Physicians in the operating room typically receive the highest amounts of radiation in the hospital while using fluoroscopy. Other modalities such as nuclear medicine and CT also require significant levels of radiation to achieve their justified goals. Some of the best practices with high impact are: maximizing distance from the source of X-rays, collimating their images as best possible, standing on the detector-side of the table, take advantage of shielding and wear your dosimeter!
HCB News: What do you say to hospital executives who don’t think they have the financial resources necessary to improve dose monitoring?
I would say, start small. The first step to improving any process is to understand what you have and where it came from. Most healthcare providers have not historically used patient radiation dose information in any meaningful way as a quality tool. Radiation dose tracking is a quality tool, and with any new tool or process there will be some ramp-up time use the data effectively and efficiently. Spending the time to gather and analyzing your dose data can quickly expose outliers and large variants in your process. Even if you tackle the three biggest sources of variation with regard to patient dose you can have a very large impact on your practice and patient care.