Radiation Dose Required in Documentation for California CT Providers
On September 29, 2010, California’s SB 1237 was signed into law as the Medical Radiation Safety Act. This bill was prompted by episodes of over-radiation being reported in California and elsewhere. As of July 1, 2012 providers of CT scans in California are required to begin reporting technical parameters and radiation dose for each study; however, the legislation does not mandate how much radiation is permissible.
Determining how to calculate the patient’s dose and getting accurate information transferred into PACS automatically has proven to be difficult. This is seen as a growing problem, with more and more patients asking, “What’s my dose?” This is a loaded question, with no clear answer, as radiologists, physicists, informaticists and vendors have been working tirelessly to determine the proper way to measure this and automate its population into radiology report. Many practices are relying on manual means of populating this information, which can attribute up to a 17% error rate by some estimates. What can be said for sure is California providers of CT’s are pioneers in what is likely to become a trend nationwide. Radiologists around the country should keep a close eye on the failures and successes of this requirement and prepare to be held to the same standards or your practice’s compliance and ultimately revenue will be at risk.
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