When is Wearing Two Dosimeter Types Better Than One?
If you answered c. sometimes, you are correct.
Most health care personnel who work with radiation-emitting equipment wear a passive dosimeter that measures their radiation dose over a defined time period. And they are likely accustomed to getting an exposure report weeks later, which lists their cumulative dose and serves as legal documentation. These dose reports are valuable legal records and are relied upon by organizations for compliance and carefully monitoring staff dose exposure levels to maintain proper workflow.
Yet most workers are unaccustomed to getting their dose readings in real time -- or in other words -- seeing their dose exposure on a live dashboard during a procedure.
With the RaySafe i3 Real-time Staff Dosimetry System, physicians and staff wearing an active i3 dosimeter during a high-dose procedure can visualize their exposure in real time. Easy-to-read, color-coded bar graphs noting high, medium, or low exposure allow them to take immediate action to reduce exposure.
Why Do We Monitor Staff Radiation Exposure?
In the United States, interventional radiology subspecialists treat nearly 1 in 10 patients with a high radiation-dose procedure like fluoroscopy for cardiology and vascular conditions.
It is believed that interventional radiology procedures expose physicians and other health care personnel to potentially harmful levels of radiation. Such radiation levels can lead to gene mutations and increase the risk of cancer. To minimize this risk, it is important to monitor and control radiation levels, to ensure the ALARA principle (As Low As Reasonably Achievable), which is the basis for the health care system´s safety guidelines, set by the Radiology Safety Officer (RSO).
For example, if personnel are shown to exceed their ALARA limits early in the year, they may need to be reassigned to avoid any additional radiation dose.
Why Wear Both a Passive and an Active Dosimeter?
As mentioned above, with a passive dosimeter, dose exposure reports are received often weeks after exposure occurs. While this keeps track of overall exposure, it does not allow physicians and staff to make “in the moment” alterations to their procedure, shielding, or equipment to minimize exposure and risk.
With the RaySafe i3 real-time active dosimeter, staff can modify behavior and see the change immediately on the computer monitor in the procedure room. Seeing the dose level decrease or be eliminated can serve as a great stress reliever and allow for safe participation.
With the i3 system, all procedure data is recorded minute by minute for closer review, and it provides information for continued performance improvement opportunities within the department. Data shows that staff adopting the ABCs of radiation safety – Avoidance, Behavior, and Control – make a significant difference in dose exposure.
One thing to note, however. The i3 dosimeter data, while highly valuable for staff safety, is not deemed legal dose of record.
The real benefit of always wearing both the occupational Luxel+ dosimeter and the i3 real-time dosimeter during specific procedures is the complete view of staff dose exposure – now and then.
Now, or during the procedure itself, the i3 system gives staff the ability to “see” their dosage levels in real time and allows them to take steps in the moment to reduce or avoid high dose exposure.
Then, by wearing the dose of record Luxel+ dosimeter, staff receives the cumulative record of dose exposure that provides the RSO with a complete view of dose within the defined wear period.
Double Down on Dosimetry
The synergy between the RaySafe i3 and the LANDAUER Luxel+ provides organizations with a complete view of each employee’s exposure levels. RSOs can gain new insights into practice patterns for today’s complex procedures and better understand how to limit radiation exposure.
Additionally, organizations interested in conducting performance improvement projects within a modality or department now have the data to study and prove effectiveness of behavior change.
Combining the dose exposure readings of the RaySafe active i3 real-time dosimeter (in selected procedures) with the LANDAUER Luxel+ dosimeter yields information and insights valuable to RSOs and imaging department leaders.
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