In recent years, there has been a heightened focus on preventative measures designed to reduce patients’ exposure to unnecessary radiation dosing. Both California and Texas have enacted legislation requiring dose reporting, and initiatives such as Image Gently® and Image Wisely® are designed to protect patients. Additionally, medical image exchanges are enabling clinicians to share images and reports, reducing unnecessary duplicate testing.
The Joint Commission has created new and revised standards for diagnostic imaging that require, among other things, the documentation of computed tomography (CT) dose in each patient’s imaging report and medical record. This makes it easier to track and report how much radiation each patient is exposed to during repeated CT or other ionizing radiation studies. Although these standards are slated to go into effect in July 2015, the Joint Commission does not specify how organizations must meet these reporting standards. Therefore, hospitals and imaging centers will need to establish a means for collecting, storing and reporting patient radiation dose data to become or maintain accreditation.
Patient information collaboration and exchange are not always the easiest to facilitate in healthcare. In fact, Dr. John Halamka and Dr. Keith Dreyer recently joked that their organizations are merely 50 feet from one another and yet over the last 10 years, they have never fully exchanged images electronically.
The patient benefit of these new reporting requirements is immense. To address them properly, while simultaneously easing the administrative burden, providers can leverage technologies that collect the proper information in the background without disrupting a physician’s workflow. Leveraging tools that can parse information, such as dose data from the DICOM structured report, and use it to auto-populate radiology reports can help expedite critical patient information to care teams. Because, at the end of the day, the most important results are those that enable clinicians to provide better patient care, more quickly.
To learn more about leveraging technology to drive improved patient care and workflow efficiencies, check out this webinar by Dr. Alexander Towbin and Neil Johnson of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital on designing and implementing structured radiology reporting system or read “Easing the Burden of Radiation Dosing.”