Posted on July 11, 2012
This entry was posted in Radiology Physics.
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Collaboration Aims to Halve CT Radiation Doses
11 Jul 2012
A comprehensive program has been initiated to help healthcare providers incorporate computed tomography (CT) imaging technologies, education, and process improvements, and data analysis to reduce patient radiation dose from CT by up to 50%.
GE Healthcare (Chalfont St. Giles, UK) revealed the GE Blueprint for low dose, in which the company is focused on working with health systems and physicians to develop system-specific solutions–comprehensive “blueprints” that can help providers achieve low-dose, high-definition diagnostic capabilities. The program is designed to help health systems nationwide positively affect patient safety.
GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt and North Shore-LIJ Health System (Lake Success, NY, USA) president and CEO Michael Dowling recently unveiled the GE Blueprint for low dose at North Shore-LIJ’s Center for Advanced Medicine. Following the model set by North Shore-LIJ, GE plans to engage with leading health systems across the united States– representing 3,500 hospitals with 70% of all hospital admissions nationally–to share the GE Blueprint for low dose.
Conventionally, in CT imaging, high-image quality frequently required greater patient exposure to diagnostic radiation. Lower dose levels for the patient usually meant lower image clarity. Partnering with leading healthcare providers, GE is changing the equation. With GE’s Veo technology, for instance, physicians have achieved extremely clear chest CT images with less than 1 millisievert (mSv) of dose–some with radiation dose levels comparable to chest X-rays. For perspective, traditional chest CT scans can expose patients to anywhere from 5-10 mSv of radiation dose, and natural background radiation exposes the average individual to approximately 3 mSv per year.
Mr. Immelt said, “GE has provided low dose solutions for more than 30 years, and the GE Blueprint for low dose furthers our healthymagination vision of improving the cost, quality, and access of healthcare. We are pleased to recognize North Shore-LIJ’s vision and efforts already on this front.”
North Shore-LIJ president and CEO Michael Dowling noted, “maintaining the lowest possible radiation dose in imaging while delivering high quality diagnostics is a top priority. We are thrilled to collaborate with GE Healthcare through this important, impactful program and to build upon our leadership in dose management and North Shore-LIJ’s commitment to ensuring the utmost in safety and care for our patients.”
Utilizing a team of “low dose architects,” GE Blueprint helps health systems such as North Shore-LIJ develop system-specific, end-to-end dose management programs, including staff education, process improvements, equipment evaluations and CT technologies that can enable low-dose, high-definition imaging.
As part of their blueprint, North Shore-LIJ is incorporating 16 new advanced GE CT systems and low dose technologies, including DoseWatch, a first-of-its-kind management tool that helps providers measure, track, and optimize patient dose over time; Veo, an innovative CT image reconstruction technology that is helping physicians achieve some CT scans at under 1 millisievert with profound clarity; ASiR (adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction), a low dose image reconstruction technology, available across the GE Healthcare CT product range and used on over 1,200 systems for more than 12 million patient exams to date. (In clinical practice, the use of ASiR or Veo may reduce CT patient dose depending on the clinical task, patient size, anatomic location, and clinical practice. A consultation with a radiologist and a physicist should be mad e to determine the appropriate dose to obtain diagnostic image quality for the particular clinical task.)
After reviewing all imaging equipment in 2010 and instituting a three year plan to replace or upgrade more than USD 50 million in equipment, North Shore-LIJ achieved system-wide American College of Radiology (ACR; Reston, VA, USA) accreditation and 100% compliance with ACR’s “Image Wisely” and “Image Gently” pledges, started manually tracking CT patient exposure levels system-wide, and introduced a mandatory credentialing requirement for nonradiologists using medical radiation.
A year later, in August 2011, The Joint Commission issued a Sentinel Event Alert about the radiation risks of diagnostic imaging. “By installing new imaging technology that uses lower radiation doses for CT scans, the North Shore-LIJ Health System is addressing an important factor that can contribute to excess radiation dosing,” said Mark R. Chassin, MD, president of The Joint Commission.
GE Blueprint’s goal is to work with healthcare providers to slash their average patient exposure by up to 50%, based on longitudinal tracking of average dose. The dose reduction goal is the result of a comprehensive program covering a full array of dose reduction principles. It is not solely based on equipment features. Individual site achievement will vary and any percentage reduction is dependent on the initial baseline for that site. In all cases, diagnostic image quality must be maintained.
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