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Patient`S Radiation Safety and Protection: A CT Scan Department Concern, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1169

Essay

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply.  Willing is not enough; we must do”

Johann Wolfgang Goethe

 

The issue of the radiation safety in diagnostic radiology is not a new subject. There are various healthcare organizations, both private and public levels who are responsible for developing and implementing regulations and guidelines in order to ensure all safety precautions are in place in a diagnostic imaging department. A diagnostic imaging department includes different imaging modalities. Majority of these modalities include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans. CT scan is one of the most important medical imaging modalities in today’s diagnostic imaging. The CT scan department is a high-performing and technologically advanced unit in healthcare that focused on high quality imaging procedures done in a safe and effective way. Like other areas in healthcare the CT scan department is under pressure with rapid technological changes, staffing shortages, and increasing demand (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2017).

Technical advancement in CT scan technology during the past decade has brought many changes and improvements to this imaging modality. In recent years, CT scan procedures have gained a special place in diagnostic imaging due to its accuracy, accessibility, and speed. Like many other major medical centres, the CT scan department should be regularly updated with new equipment. These new, advanced equipment’s brought new possibilities to CT imaging, such as cardiac CT scans, CT angiography, CT colonography, and so on. These new techniques provide a wider service to patients throughout the province. Along with these new CT imaging possibilities come the costs of the massive amount of radiation dose to patients and the risks associated with them.

Project Description

A CT scan department is a vital area in a healthcare community. Many patients come to have their diagnostic CT scan tests done. The international data from the United States population has received greater than a ten percent annual increase in CT scan procedures during the period from 2003 to 2016 (National Council on Radiation Protection, 2018, p. 8). Changes in CT scan technology through the years and increased utilization of CT scan have resulted in more procedures performed per patient and more radiation with increased risks of cancer associated with the radiation. Studies have proven that having a CT scan increases the chance of cancer mortality by a factor of 1 in 2,000 (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2017). This risk may not appear high in comparison to risks from cardiac arrests or car accidents resulting in death, but when a large population group is considered the implications are severe.

This research project may raise potential challenges for different healthcare providers, such as referring physicians or radiologists. They both faced a change of practice and the need to question and justify the appropriateness of diagnostic tests. In order to address these challenges, effective communication with all the healthcare providers involved and keeping their interests as well as patients in mind are necessary. I see these challenges as opportunities for me to expand my leadership skills by engaging individuals in this study and raising awareness on this subject. I am hopeful that this research will not only add to the awareness surrounding patient safety and radiation, but also result in improving the existing culture in order to improve the standards of practice at CT scan departments.

Problem Statement

The recently, growing concerns about patient`s radiation safety and protection have been raised about the appropriate use of this imaging modality considering its risks. As my research in Allied Health, I have decided to take this opportunity and address this issue within this healthcare area. I plan to answer the research with this question: How can a CT Scan Department use radiation safety as an effective criterion to manage appropriate referrals for diagnostic CT scans?

Significance of the Study

 

Since 2000, there have been many technological changes in diagnostic imaging such as introduction of picture archive communication systems, a computerized imaging archive system that allows physicians to review images on the Internet (National Council on Radiation Protection, 2018). Introducing multi-slice scanners has brought many changes and advancements to the CT imaging modality. New scanners are much faster than before, and connectivity to picture archive communication systems gives physicians an opportunity to review images from anywhere in the hospital, in their office, and even at home.

The availability and ease of use of these new technologies have increased the demand for CT scan procedures. In comparison, there has not been a significant increase in some of the other imaging modalities. The One major factor in this increase is availability and speed of CT scans. Another reason for the increased number of CT scans, as compared to some other modalities, is the way that hospitals are compensated for the different procedures. Due to the urgency of the exam, a CT scan is performed, which was not the ideal exam for the patient’s condition (National Academies, 2016). These patients are receiving a significant amount of radiation along with the study result that only partially answers the physician’s questions. Raising awareness in this area is necessary in order to ensure patient safety and appropriate patient care.

 

Goals and Objectives

The primary goal on this project is to establish the importance of appropriateness in diagnostic CT scan studies and contributing factors in it. Further, in this project, I will explore the literature on effective and practical solutions to ensure that the patient’s radiation safety will be considered before and during any CT scan procedure. I will also look at the policies contributing to exam appropriateness and patients’ radiation exposure safety.

It is important to emphasize that the intent of this project is not to discourage physicians from ordering CT scans, rather it was to ensure that all healthcare professionals involved had considered the necessity of exam for patient’s treatment. Technological advances in this area had grown much faster than the clinical practices and precautions associated with these procedures. Thus, research in this area provided an opportunity to evaluate the extent of this gap as well as strategies in reducing it.

One objective of this research project in this allied health area is to help to increase awareness, which can result in a change of practice for physicians ordering CT scan. The cooperation of stakeholders including referring physicians and radiologists in the area of research is the key to minimizing problems, overcome any challenges with the research process and implementation of recommendations.

 

References

National Academies. (2016). BEIR VII: Health risks from exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation/report in breif. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. National Academies.

National Council on Radiation Protection. (2018). Medical radiation exposure of the US population. International Congress of Radiology. Morocco: International Congress of Radiology.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. (2012). Confronting the new health crises: Improving health care quality and lowering costs by fixing our medical liability system. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2017). What are the radiation risks from CT.   Retrieved  June 10, 2019, from http://www.fda.gov/ct/risk.html.

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