patient radiation dose have always been a common occurrence for the medical
imaging industry. But discussions, headlines and even advertising about lower
diagnostic radiation exposure in the general public media has never been
“normal” until recently.
about the potential risk of diagnostic imaging radiation exposure has escalated
significantly over the last few years. With 24/7 news and social media,
public awareness about medical imaging radiation exposure is almost viral,
especially when compared with the public awareness in say 1999.
Inside the medical
imaging community, the explosive growth of computed radiology (CR) and direct radiology
(DR) also changed how we discuss and manage exposure in general
radiography. Since there was no standard method of calculating the
exposure before 2008, manufacturers developed their own calculations and
With input from
industry experts, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) published
a standard method of measuring the amount of exposure hitting the X-ray
receptor in 2008. This standard defines the Exposure Index
(EI), Target Exposure
Index (TEI) and Deviation
Index (DI). Several CR and DR manufacturers have already implemented
the Exposure Index standard with their newer systems. DICOM also embraced this
new standard method of exposure calculation, which makes it much easier to
capture, store and monitor images from PACS.
implementing the Exposure
Index standard is a great first step, but there is more work to be done to
educate the medical imaging community and to establish industry exposure
guidelines. Eventually, patient electronic medical records will also include
their medical radiologic exposure data. Once this is a reality, patients and
physicians can more easily track and discuss their radiation exposure, similar
to how they currently discuss medication.
we, the medical imaging community, need to help physicians and patients shift
from simple awareness of medical radiation dose to a better
understanding. Our efforts today can lead to significant changes for
patients tomorrow. Better understanding of medical radiation dose at large
can only lead us to delivering and receiving the lowest reasonably achievable
dose and better patient care.
RT(R), Senior Marketing Manager for Agfa HealthCare, U.S.