Team Effort Needed in Push for Low Radiation Dose CT

In the days that followed last month’s Low Dose CT Symposium, I had time to reflect on how wonderful it was that the event drew an unprecedented number of attendees. The interest in the symposium was evident by how far some attendees traveled to get there. I was also struck by the segments of the industry that were represented in the audience: technologists, radiologists, technicians and administrators were all there. It made me think about each segment’s relationship to one another, and their ability to impact change in the industry.

When driving toward much lower radiation dose in CT, it’s good to remember that a team effort is needed. Technologists must be educated on all the tricks and skills needed and must fully understand why dose reduction is important. They can help radiologists be more conscious of dose exactly when radiologists are urging technologists to pay close attention. Both techs and radiologists can use their knowledge to help educate administrators about the importance of investing in low dose CT. Everyone can help educate referring clinicians about thinking of dose when they order, both for an individual study and cumulative dose (over time) in individual patients. And it is the whole chain of providers who monitor appropriateness of studies at each and every level.

It’s National Radiologic Technology Week!

To recognize National Radiologic Technology Week, I asked respected CT technologist (and our CT supervisor) Mario Ramos to share his perspective on the benefits of low radiation dose CT. — Dr. Shuman

Proper dose reduction is not just about having the right equipment. It is essential that everyone is involved, and that they all work as a cohesive team in the name of patient safety.

Management supports us by making sure that the right machines, maintenance contracts and people are in place. Our radiologists ultimately determine the level of noise we allow in images, and that dictates the steps we take to reduce dose. As technologists, we have to have the right workflow in place to make sure that all those steps for dose reduction are done, such as adjusting kV, ma, noise index, and proper shielding. Our support staff assists with the busy work that can take away from the focus on the scan at hand, and the physics teams keep our QA/QC protocols in check. We are very fortunate here at the University of Washington to have all these things in place and know that as equipment and scanning techniques continue to evolve, we are able to ensure the highest level of image quality while maintaining proper dose reduction practices.