The MACRA Act creates a Merit-Based Payment System, with monitoring patient exposure from CT providing one possible quality metric for meeting merit requirements. Quality metrics are also required by The Joint Commission, ACR, and CMS as facilities are tasked to perform reviews of CT irradiation events outside of expected ranges, review protocols for appropriateness, and validate parameters for low dose lung cancer screening. In order to efficiently collect and analyze irradiation events and associated DICOM tags, all clinical CT devices were DICOM connected to a parser which extracted dose related information for storage into a database. Dose data from every exam is compared to the appropriate external standard exam type. AAPM recommended CTDIvol values for head and torso, adult and pediatrics, coronary and perfusion exams are used for this study. CT doses outside the expected range were automatically formatted into a report for analysis and review documentation. CT Technologist textual content, the reason for proceeding with an irradiation above the recommended threshold, is captured for inclusion in the follow up reviews by physics staff. The use of a knowledge based approach in labeling individual protocol and device settings is a practical solution resulting in efficiency of analysis and review. Manual methods would require approximately 150 person-hours for our facility, exclusive of travel time and independent of device availability. An efficiency of 89% time savings occurs through use of this informatics tool including a low dose CT comparison review and low dose lung cancer screening requirements set forth by CMS.
Robert Paden and William Pavlicek, "Radiology metrics for safe use and regulatory compliance with CT imaging," Proc. SPIE 10579, Medical Imaging 2018: Imaging Informatics for Healthcare, Research, and Applications, 105790X (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 15, 2018; Published: 6 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2293830.
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