As the use of diagnostic imaging exams continues to grow, radiation safety is a daily concern for radiology service providers. The number of CT exams tripled in the U.S. between 1996 and 2010 and 85 million were performed in 2011 alone, according to an article from The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality on the Agency’s PSNet website. The advent of new technologies such as a multidetector CT scanners that deliver up to 50 percent more radiation adds special urgency.
Maintaining a safe environment for imaging personnel and the patients they treat requires a focus on three areas: dosimetry management, regulatory compliance, and radiation safety training.
Dosimetry management. Strictly following practice guidelines, ensuring that imaging equipment is operating properly, careful attention to radiation dose monitoring software and dose reports, and optimizing dose to be appropriate for clinically useful diagnostic images are key components of medical imaging radiation safety.
Patient electronic health records, enabling tracking of individual exams to prevent unnecessary, repeat radiation exposures may soon play a larger role in radiation safety. See CMS Electronic Health Record Incentive Program.
Regulatory compliance. Staying abreast of complex and changing regulatory requirements, while time-consuming, is critical to medical imaging radiation safety efforts. More than half of the states now require radiation shielding designs when installing new equipment or moving existing equipment, and more may follow.
Confused about TJC fluoroscopy training requirement? Learn more.
Radiation safety training. Current certification for radiation technologists and ancillary staff requires continued education that involves training, education and evidence of competency. Such training is required for Joint Commission accreditation. Look to LANDAUER Academy for a list of courses that fulfill current radiation safety needs for personnel radiation safety.
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