The Joint Commission issued a Sentinel Event Alert (PDF) warning healthcare organizations to find new ways to reduce patients' exposure to diagnostic radiation.
Sentinel alert issued on diagnostic radiation
The commission said that while diagnostic radiation can help save lives, healthcare organization should pay greater attention to the risk of long-term damage that can occur to patients treated with repeated doses of radiation.
“Diagnostic imaging is a necessary medical tool, but it must be used with great care,” Dr. Mark Chassin, president of the Joint Commission, said in a news release.
The commission recommends that healthcare organizations use ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging techniques rather than CT; adhere to guidelines developed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Society for Pediatric Radiology, the American College of Radiology and the Radiological Society of North America; require assurance by radiologists that the proper dosing protocol is in place; expand the radiation safety officer’s role to include patient safety and education of dosing and equipment usage for physicians and technologists; and create centralized quality and safety performance monitoring for diagnostic imaging equipment.
The use of diagnostic imaging in hospitals, imaging centers, and physician and dental offices has increased during the past 20 years and the U.S. population’s total exposure to ionizing radiation has nearly doubled during the same time period, according to the Sentinel Event Alert.
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