A new piece of legislation was announced recently that radiologists all over the country are talking about: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a medical radiation bill into law. It’s the first state law in the United States aimed at “protecting patients from excessive radiation exposure received during CT scans and radiation therapy procedures,” as reported by Aunt Minnie.
According to the same article, the bill “requires that radiation dose be recorded on the scanned image and in a patient’s health records, and that radiation overdoses be reported to patients, treating physicians, and the state Department of Public Health (DPH).”
Both the goals of this law are very commendable and worthwhile. Putting the dose of each exam into the medical record is done in Europe now and should begin in the U.S. This will require some commitment from radiation device manufacturers and from the DICOM standard, but is quite doable.
And disclosing errors, of any type in any part of healthcare, is just part of good practice.