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CT Dose Standardized Using Feedback Mechanism

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 24 Apr 2017
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Image: A patient undergoing an abdominal CT scan (Photo courtesy of Getty Images).
Image: A patient undergoing an abdominal CT scan (Photo courtesy of Getty Images).
Researchers have shown how radiation doses can be effectively reduced, and patient safety improved, by using a feedback mechanism to share dose levels for common CT scans between hospitals.

There has been a steady increase in the use of Computed Tomography (CT) exams in the U.S. in the last 10 years, and radiation dose levels for these exams vary considerably between hospitals.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco used the feedback mechanism between radiologists at five academic medical centers in UCSF in order to assess and compare the radiation dose for CT exams. Best practices were then shared between the participating hospitals resulting in significantly lower radiation doses for abdominal and chest CT scans, and more consistent doses for head scans. The study was published in the April 10, 2017, issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Senior author of the study Professor Rebecca Smith-Bindman, MD, said, “We estimate that if the improvements we saw were applied to all abdominal CT scans performed in the U.S., this would result in the reduction of approximately 12,000 cancers annually. Reducing unnecessary and inconsistent radiation doses is an extremely important process for improving patient safety. We found that providing detailed and comparative feedback, and sharing best practices on how each institution was able to optimize their dose, leads to lower and more consistent CT doses. In short, it makes no sense for each institution to have to re-invent the wheel regarding how to optimize doses – this project focuses on helping the leaders at each institution learn from each other.”

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