The demonstration project is just one effort underway to curb radiation exposure and safety in imaging.
In February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it plans a three-pronged effort targeting CT, nuclear medicine and fluoroscopy, which result in much higher dosages than X-rays and mammography.
It plans to issue requirements for manufacturers to design CT and fluoroscopic devices in ways that avoid mishaps resulting in patient overexposure, will work to develop better certification processes for imaging facilities and hospitals and will work to educate patients and develop a system so they can track their own medical imaging history. All vendors who sell imaging equipment that uses ionizing radiation must provide a way for dose exposure to be recorded in the patient’s electronic medical record.
Can a demonstration project lead to a good “appropriateness criteria” software test that will limit overutilization of expensive imaging, and greatly reduce unnecessary radiation exposure?
That’s the hope, Cooper says. “This is a more artful approach, and gets at the problem better and faster, with a scalpel rather than a hatchet.”
The demonstration project was specified in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008.