Exposure to medical radiation of both patients and care givers is a cause of major concern for the healthcare industry today. As more and more advanced radiation based technology is being developed, there has come a point where new guidelines are required for radiation dosage.
Minimum dosage is not always the solution, but knowing what is the correct for patients, as well as doctors and support staff is what matter. A few factors need to be kept in mind when working out the dosage requirement that would provide maximum effectiveness and efficiency.
The first and foremost thing to be sure of, is the safety of your patients, staff and healthcare centre. The second important thing is to strike a balance between the dosage being administered and the quality of the image.There should be transparency about radiation procedures and does among the staff of the hospital as lack of it will lead to mistrust and lower productivity.
The ideal approach to radiation procedures would be to combine healthcare technology with insightful data and care to provide the correct dosage across the organisation.
Hospitals, clinics, healthcare companies and other stakeholders in the healthcare industry have been putting their heads together to find the right radiationdose management and effectively reduce exposure. In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the inventions of high radiation imaging and its adoption by the healthcare industry, this has called for a renewed focus on radiation dose management. The issue is serious and requires a concerted and coordinated attempt by all stakeholders in the medical industry and patients too. Meaningful dialogue and addressing of issues among all those that are involved is the only way forward towards creating sustained developments in radiology.
The healthcare industry is one of the main stakeholders in the radiology sector. Companies manufacturing equipment related to ionizing radiation are already looking for ways to minimize radiation exposure during radiological procedures. They must persist in their efforts to develop advanced technology that mitigates radiation exposure, and provide, at the same time, better quality imaging. Companies developing radiology software for hospitals are now introducing coordinated does reporting and does management abilities in their software. This is a welcome step. New technology incorporating software and hardware management with chain imaging that reduces radiation exposure while providing high quality images is also being developed by medical software companies nowadays. Active does management and does reduction programs are already on place in the software being developed by many healthcare companies.
Proper regulation of the level of radiation exposure for patients and care givers is of vital importance in the healthcare system. While healthcare companies are doing their bit by creating more sensitive radiology software for hospitals, regulatory bodies need to come up with new, well defined set of rules and regulations regarding the same. These regulations should not just apply to radiology equipment manufacturers but also on doctors and clinicians administering ionization dosage. The main challenge would be to aggregate and assimilate the huge amount of data related to patients, operators and manufacturers. But it is an essential step if we are serious about setting new regulations and guidelines in place of the established ones.
There are regulatory bodies in India, already in place, that have issued guidelines and regulations for radiation exposure, radiation dosage reduction and ionization does management. There guidelines are based on data collected from various healthcare sources regarding the current radiation exposure levels of patients and doctors and the emerging trends in the healthcare industry. Some of these organizations are Atomic Energy Regulatory Body(AERB), National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers(NABH), Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act1994(PC PNDT). Hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centres and healthcare centres are required to follow the guidelines prescribed by these agencies. But the need of the hour of to revisit these guidelines due to the emergence of and reliance on new medical technology.
While it is understandable that radiology equipment manufacturers share the greater burden in the responsibility of reducing and managing radiation dosage for patients, as do the software companies providing radiology software for hospitals like Tenwave and Napier, some of the responsibility also falls on the healthcare professionals like doctors, radiologists, clinicians and support staff to regulate radiation exposure levels. In the present scenario, once it is determined if the patient needs to be scanned for medical diagnostic purposes, the decision of the type of scan and the level of radiation exposure is left to the discretion of the doctor or pathologist. As the treatment preference of each doctor is different, there is a lot of discrepancy in such treatments. Sustained awareness campaigns about the risk of radiation overdose and restraint on the part of doctors from prescribing repeated scans is essential for improving patient safety. This is specially valid for paediatric scans. Most guidelines about the accepted levels of radiation are based on adult radiation exposure levels and their impact of children is not clearly known. Hence, paediatricians should avoid radioactive imaging or look for alternative imaging modalities.