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reducing radiation

Advocate Health Care and GE Healthcare, a national leader in low dose, high performance imaging, are collaborating to further reduce radiation dose in Computed Tomography (CT). The project fits with Advocate’s triple aim to provide better care for patients, better care for the population, all while reducing inefficiencies that can drive up cost. The partnership is one of the first announced for GE Blueprint for low dose, a comprehensive campaign in which GE Healthcare is working alongside leading U.S. health systems to further reduce radiation dose in CT imaging. Leaders from Advocate and GE Healthcare unveiled the Advocate-based GE Blueprint for low dose in September 2012.

Advocate’s radiation dose reduction program includes a plan to install the GE DoseWatch software on all its diagnostic and radiation therapy CT  scanners. The technology allows for precise management of dose data. Advocate will also participate in the American College of Radiology (ACR)  Dose Index Registry (DIR). The national database allows CT facilities to compare their dose levels to other CT facilities across the country. Launched in June 2012, GE Blueprint offers a comprehensive approach based on an assessment of a health care provider’s technology, people and processes and helps identify breakthrough imaging technologies, system-specific solutions and processes, and comprehensive imaging “blueprints” to help providers achieve low-dose, high-definition diagnostic capabilities. Additionally, solutions such as DoseWatch*, a first-of-its-kind management tool, will further enable Advocate and other providers to measure, track and optimize patient radiation dose over time.

“GE Healthcare has long collaborated with healthcare providers as they work to continuously reduce radiation dose in CT imaging,” said Steve Gray, vice president and general manager for Computed Tomography at GE Healthcare. “Building upon our announcement last November to invest more than $800 million in the development of low-dose technologies over 15 years, GE Blueprint will help hospitals optimize imaging departments systemically and significantly.” 

Low Dose at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center

As part of the Advocate radiology council, Advocate BroMenn Medical Center is actively participating in low dose initiatives. Over the past few years the radiology department has gone beyond the required standards and received Accreditation status by ACR (American College of Radiology) for CT, Nuclear Medicine, and MRI as a means of benchmarking process, image quality, and radiation exposure.

In 2011, radiologists revised CT protocols that resulted in a 50% exposure reduction for many of the CT procedures. Following that, software was installed on the 64-slice CT unit and reduced radiation by another 35-50%. The radiology department also converted from CR (computed radiography) to DR (Direct Radiography) technology. This change in technology for routine x-rays reduces radiation dosage by at least 50%.

In 2012, BroMenn Medical Center’s Nuclear Medicine section installed software that allows the use of half the normal radioisotopes to be used while still maintaining high quality imaging. This same software also allows the total acquisition time to be cut in half, providing a more comfortable experience for patients, as they do not have to lay still for as long a time.

Along with other Advocate facilities, BroMenn Medical Center is participating in the American College of Radiology’s Dose Registry Program, whereby all CT procedures will be monitored for actual exposure for each scan.

For more information, contact Brenda Downen, Radiology, at 309.268.5223.

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