Volusia, Flagler and St Johns Counties, FL – As medical imaging exams have replaced more invasive procedures, benefiting patients and revolutionizing medicine, people’s exposure to medical radiation has increased. Radiology Associates Imaging is concerned that radiation exposure over time could have adverse effects for patients. They continue to act to ensure that patients receive only necessary scans and to reduce radiation dose used in these exams.
Image Wisely® (www.imagewisely.org (http://www.imagewisely.org))
· Optimize imaging examinations to use only the radiation necessary to produce diagnostic quality images
· Convey the principles of the Image Wisely Program to the imaging team in order to ensure that the facility optimizes its use of radiation when imaging patients
· Communicate optimal patient imaging strategies to referring physicians, and be available for consultation
· Routinely review imaging protocols to ensure the use of the least amount of radiation necessary to acquire a diagnostic quality image for each exam
Image Wisely also urges providers to demonstrate to patients that they “image wisely” by:
· Taking the Image Wisely pledge
· Getting accredited by the ACR or equivalent accrediting
· Participating in a Dose Index Registry
“For over 60 years, Radiology Associates has been entrusted with providing safe, necessary and compassionate imaging for our neighbors. Partnering with the Image Wisely campaign is a natural fit for us as the goal of the program is for radiologists to help referring physicians and medical imaging professionals understand which exams may be most appropriate and how these exams may be carried out in a safe, effective manner,” states Al Falco, CEO of Radiology Associates Imaging.
The Image Wisely campaign will initially focus on computed tomography (CT) scans. There were approximately 87 million CT scans performed in 2009 as rapidly evolving CT technology replaced more invasive and often more costly techniques. The Image Wisely campaign is an effort to help ensure that medical imaging protocols keep pace with this advancing technology.
Radiology Associates Imaging Centers have been granted Levels 1, 2 and 3 Honor Roll status. To reach this honor, centers must:
LEVEL 1 – Take the Image Wisely pledge
LEVEL 2 – Earn accreditation from an organization that directly evaluates the following radiation-related attributes:
· Radiation dose indices and compliance with accreditation pass/fail thresholds
· Clinical image quality (peer-reviewed by an external, qualified interpreting physician)
· Phantom image quality (peer-reviewed by an external, qualified medical physicist)
· Personnel (qualifications set by the accrediting organization)
LEVEL 3 – Participate in a dose index registry (local or national) that includes routine evaluation of procedures and dose indices
· All imaging physicians interpreting exams utilizing ionizing radiation and technologists performing these exams must have an understanding of the radiation exposure involved so as to be able to properly advise patients on the benefits and potential risks of the exams.
· Radiation doses should be optimized to the lowest levels required to produce images containing all necessary information for accurate interpretation (dose optimization)
· The practice should comply with currently available recommendations for default imaging techniques and protocols (AAPM, NCRP, ACR, etc.).
· Whenever possible, automatic exposure control and other dose reduction methodologies (e.g., vendor supplied programs, shielding, etc.) should be employed to minimize patient exposure.
· The practice should manually or electronically monitor dose indices for common examinations, compare these indices with established benchmarks, and evaluate outliers on a timely basis to prevent unnecessary exposure to patients or images with insufficient diagnostic information.
· The practice should review the number of examinations performed on patients with repetitive exams and notify the ordering physician when the total number of exams appears excessive relative to the expected clinical benefit.1
· The radiology practice should be consultative in nature and provide ongoing education to referring practitioners on the benefits and potential risks of imaging with ionizing radiation.
A full list of Honor Roll members can be viewed at www.imagewisely.org/
The Image Wisely website (www.imagewisely.org) contains the latest research and educational materials to aid radiologists, radiologic technologists, medical physicists, and other imaging professionals in determining the appropriate technical parameters to be used in imaging and how the radiation received from these exams may affect patients over time. Also, the “My Medical Imaging History” card, co-developed by Image Wisely and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is downloadable from the site. This allows patients to keep track of their exams over time.
The four charter members of Image Wisely — the ACR, RSNA, ASRT and AAPM — represent more than 200,000 physicians, radiologic technologists and medical physicists who play key roles in medical imaging.
For more information on Radiology Associates Imaging, visit www.radiologyassociatesimaging.com.
Media Contact: George Kastroulis (386)547-1264 gkastroulis@