What do smoke detectors, airports, cell phones, microwaves, atom bombs, your best friend and that cookie you’re holding have in common? If you answered “a very interesting dream where you are Jason Bourne,” then points for creativity, but the correct answer is radiation. It seems just about everywhere you look, your body is being exposed to some amount of radiation, whether it’s man-made, natural or medical. The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission states that the average American is exposed to about 620 millirem of radiation each year, and that doesn’t include outliers like atom bombs. This isn’t Hiroshima.
It is believed that typically about 96% of a person’s radiation exposure comes from medical procedures, so fortunately you don’t need to be too hung up on your cell phone’ radioactive waves. Pun Intended.
Most patients who are exposed to radiation through medical procedures are receiving those millirem from the following popular diagnostic imaging scans:
Chest X-ray: 10 mrem
Full-body CT: 1,000-mrem
CT of the chest: 700 mrem
CT of the head: 200 mrem
Dental X-ray: 1.5 mrem
X-ray of hand/foot: 0.5 mrem
Of course as patient-consumers, which the health care industry has started to refer to you as with the dawn of better patient education, you should be aware of these things, especially in light of the attention your diagnostic imaging providers are paying towards radiation. Since 2011, ensuring that hospitals and outpatient imaging facilities are appropriately measuring radiation dose has been a top priority. It was found that a number of top hospitals in the country were not doing a satisfactory job of tracking dose and reporting on patient dose. Since then, providers have been essentially scrambling to find a way to successfully and efficiently manage the process of radiation dose tracking and reporting.
The search is over my friends. Scannerside, a radiation dose tracking system developed by radiologists Dr. William Moore and Dr. Ronak Talati, has become available to hospitals and radiology departments across the country. Not only is it an especially accurate system for measuring dose, but it also allows for simple patient reporting. Most importantly, it does not require the capital necessary to implement the program into practice protocols, which has been typical of similar systems in the past. Additionally it takes little to no implementation time before staff can utilize Scannerside. This is because it is cloud-based and easily integrates with all EHR, EMR and PACS systems.