News | July 05, 2011

ECRI and Health Care Foundation Launch CT Radiation Safety Collaborative

July 5, 2011 — ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, and the Health Care Improvement Foundation, an independent nonprofit corporation with a multi-dimensional focus on healthcare safety, announced the launch of a new Partnership for Patient Care regional collaborative focused on improving computed tomography (CT) radiation safety. Jointly funded by Philadelphia-area hospitals and Independence Blue Cross, this collaborative will engage hospitals and imaging centers in Philadelphia and surrounding counties in a 12-month project aimed at strengthening patient safety specific to CT imaging.

“The overall goal of this program is for 100 percent of the participants to be actively monitoring recorded CT radiation doses in order to deliver doses that are as low as reasonably achievable,” said Kathy Shostek, senior risk management analyst, ECRI Institute, and the program’s manager.

CT radiation dose can result in unnecessarily high exposures, placing patients at increased risk of cancer and other conditions. Inappropriate radiation doses nationally have raised public concerns and attracted attention in the media recently. Specific strategies for this program will focus on addressing factors related to inappropriate or excessive radiation doses and implementing practices that optimize CT studies.

The Partnership for Patient Care (PPC) is a multi-year patient safety collaborative among the Health Care Improvement Foundation, Independence Blue Cross and healthcare organizations across Southeastern Pennsylvania. The Partnership's objective is to accelerate the effective adoption of evidence-based clinical practices by pooling the resources, knowledge and efforts of providers and other stakeholders.

The initiative was announced June 7 at a kick-off conference held at ECRI Institute. Nearly 100 healthcare administrators and radiology professionals from more than 30 area hospitals attended the program. Keynote presenter William Hendee, Ph.D., Medical College of Wisconsin, and ECRI Institute medical physicists Jason Launders, MSc, and Rohit Inamdar, MSc, provided background on safety issues and identified strategies to protect patients from radiation overexposure.

“CT provides precise images and tremendous benefits to patients. But neglecting the radiation dose will, without a doubt, lead to unnecessary and unwanted consequences,” said Launders, senior project officer, ECRI Institute, and nationally recognized speaker on imaging safety.

Participating facilities will take a confidential patient safety survey to assess CT scanning services at the start of the program as a baseline and again at the end to assess improvement. The program includes reporting of CT radiation dose data, ongoing educational seminars, assistance in implementing action goals and participation in a collaborative website. ECRI Institute’s interdisciplinary staff will be actively involved with the program.

“Diagnostic CT scans are a very important diagnostic tool that benefits millions of patients. When conducted properly, no CT scans should approach doses high enough for patients to lose their hair and have skin burns,” said Inamdar, senior associate, ECRI Institute.

For more information: www.ecri.org

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