Sentinel Alert on Repeated Xray Exposure

xray Diagnostic tools are an important component of medical care. However, over-reliance on certain tools is a cause for concern. The Joint Commission issued a sentinel event alert on diagnostic radiation in medical imaging, urging doctors to pay greater attention to the long-term hazards of repeated X-ray exposures.

In the alert, the Oak Park, Ill.-based health care accreditation group suggested a handful of strategies, such as swapping X-ray based scans for ultrasound or MRI, when appropriate, and adhering to dose-lowering guidelines put out by the American College of Radiology and other medical societies.

Recommendations from Joint commission include:

• Meeting ALARA — “as low as reasonably achievable” — recommendations for keeping dose low without sacrificing image quality.
• Following the ACR’s Image Gently (for children) and Image Wisely (for adults) dose-awareness campaigns.
• Investing in new, dose-reducing equipment.

JC also supports a national dose registry to track patient radiation exposure, urges manufacturers to include dosage safeguards in new devices and it backs “stricter regulations” to monitor self-referred imaging studies.

Image courtesy of Flickr and http://www.flickr.com/photos/herby_fr/

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