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ECRI Institute And Health Care Improvement Foundation Announce Results Of Regional Collaborative To Improve CT Radiation Safety

Participating Pennsylvania hospitals and imaging centers improved radiation dose tracking and achieved other significant outcomes in one-year program

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  ECRI Institute and the Health Care Improvement Foundation, independent nonprofit organizations devoted to patient safety and quality, announce the results of a Philadelphia-area regional collaborative to reduce patient risks associated with excessive radiation from CT scans. ECRI Institute has ranked exposure hazards from radiation therapy and CT among its published list of Top 10 Technology Hazards for the past five years and has a strong interest in helping healthcare organizations focus on this pressing patient safety issue.

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The overarching goals of the program were to make diagnostic CT scan radiation doses as low as reasonably achievable and encourage the participating facilities to actively record and monitor CT doses.

"We were pleased to see marked improvement by participating facilities in a number of significant areas including tracking radiation dose for each study, having action plans for managing excessive CT radiation dose, reducing repeat imaging studies, and increasing leadership engagement and support," says program manager Patricia Neumann, a senior patient safety analyst at ECRI Institute.

Nearly 20 hospitals and imaging centers in the Philadelphia area participated in the one-year Partnership for Patient Care program launched by the Health Care Improvement Foundation and led by ECRI Institute from July 2011 to June 2012. The final report, available for free download, " CT Radiation Safety: Right Scan, Right Dose, Right Now," provides an overview of the program and improvement results.

"The collaborative process was quite eye-opening. So often we look outside of our field for solutions to our issues. ECRI Institute encouraged us to look inside at our actual practice. Once we did, the dose improvements kept coming. Actual dose reductions of 47% were achieved," said Gerald Bedard, senior director, diagnostic imaging, Grand View Hospital.

"The Chester County Hospital CT team worked in conjunction with the ECRI Institute collaborative to improve patient safety and reduce CT radiation dose across all radiology sites," said Steven Borislow, MD, department of radiology, The Chester County Hospital and Health System. "Our CT team implemented strategies that were defined in the action goals of the program. We are proud of the accomplishments that we have achieved through this collaboration and we will continue to strive to perform CT scans at radiation doses that are as low as reasonably achievable."

Participating facilities took a confidential survey to assess CT scanning services at the start of the program and again at the end to assess improvement. Some of the most notable improvements include the following:

  • 87% improvement in tracking of CT radiation doses for each study
  • 64% improvement in having an action plan in place for managing excessive CT radiation when it occurs
  • 55% improvement in auditing of CT doses

"These statistics are significant because CT radiation dose can result in unnecessarily high exposures, placing patients at increased risk of cancer and other conditions. These facilities are taking important steps to reduce the risks for their patients," says Jason Launders, ECRI Institute's director of operations and one of the medical imaging advisors for the program.

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