Is Government Regulation Necessary for CT?

A recent editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association took the position that the best course of action to address the issues of CT overutilization, quality control and training would be government regulation, according to an article on HealthImaging.

In the original editorial, authors David J. Brenner, PhD and Hedvig Hricak, MD reported that “the radiation dose in America has doubled over the past 30 years, and medical imaging contributes half of the dose to the U.S. population,” as stated in HealthImaging. They argue that only through national legislation will we be able to ensure lower CT radiation dose and an improvement in overall safety to patients undergoing CT exams.

Actually, there are very good resources available now for deciding appropriateness and supporting referring physicians, such as the American College of Radiology’s (ACR) appropriateness criteria or commercially available, evidenced-based decision support programs which are built into electronic order entry systems.

Rather than have the FDA develop a new agency, perhaps wider and better application of these existing resources and regulation through societies of experts (like the ACR and the Radiological Society of North America) might be impactful.