While medical imaging can provide valuable insight to patients' health statuses, safety is an essential component of the procedures. Many radiologists have been working to reduce radiation doses, as some patients require multiple scans to monitor and track treatment progress.
Although campaigns such as Image Wisely exist to inform physicians about the proper dosage levels, medical staff should be properly educated in radiation safety knowledge to ensure that patients are free from harm. However, according to a study published in the online journal Academic Radiology, residents at health centers demonstrated a limited degree of knowledge regarding radiation doses.
Working to sharpen the know-how
FierceMedicalImaging reported that the findings gleaned from a survey conducted by the Emory University School of Medicine showed a vast majority of medical staff lacked the understanding of specific estimated dose effects. More than 500 residents participated, with 39 percent of respondents stating that radiation safety was part of their residency curriculum at least once every six months.
The researchers, led by Gelareh Sadigh, M.D., reported that 95 percent of the residents believed there was a link between the development of cancer and overexposure to radiation. However, merely 10 percent could identify the specific radiation dose associated with fetus brain malformations in pregnancy, and only 22 percent could estimate the lifetime risk of cancer mortality from an abdominal CT scan in pediatric patients.
The conclusion that can be drawn from the survey's results is that more educational initiatives are needed to communicate the dangers of radiation overexposure to medical residents. Additionally, all physician specialties should have standardized basic radiation safety and protection courses.
Improving radiation safety
There are many avenues that digital imaging specialists can choose to practice better radiation safety techniques. For one, physicians can consider adopting clinical decision support systems that have a specific focus on radiology, Diagnostic Imaging explained. These programs are instrumental in helping radiologists determine whether patients require a diagnostic test at the point of care, preventing instances of unnecessary repetition of tests. Not only does it limit radiation exposure, a CDSS can save medical practices time and money wasted on redundant exams.
Physicians can also adopt new technologies that are specifically designed to reduce radiation exposure. Low-dose computed tomography equipment can yield similar results to standard scanners, while limiting radiation dosages and producing high-quality images for review.
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