Researchers develop 'pipeline' to extract patients' radiation data

By Molly Merrill
10:49 AM

Researchers at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania say they have designed, implemented and validated a method for querying and extracting radiation dose data, which they say will better help them monitor patient exposure to radiation from CT.

The research was published in a new study in the Nov. issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Researchers call the method RADIANCE, and say it serves as an automated extraction "pipeline" to query their institutional Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) and extract radiation dose data stored in the dose report image of every CT examination performed.

"The 'pipeline' can process both retrospective and prospective CT studies, in order to make dose information available for all CT examinations at our institution, as well as examinations acquired at other institutions provided for review or re-evaluation," said Tessa S. Cook, MD, lead author of the study.

Researchers say the ability to track radiation dose delivered to each patient at a given facility will help providers make more informed healthcare decisions and improve patient safety.

"The goal of extracting and analyzing radiation dose information is to assess patient exposure to radiation from CT," said Cook. "By storing radiation dose information both retrospectively and prospectively, we can generate dose report cards indicating patients' estimated lifetime radiation dose for all studies obtained at our institution. This information is important not only for involving the patient and his/her physicians in medical decision-making for future imaging studies, but also for dose monitoring, outlier analysis and protocol optimization to minimize unnecessary exposure to radiation.

"Extracted radiation dose information can be used to perform a variety of analyses aimed at quality assurance and patient safety," she added. "The automated extraction 'pipeline' for radiation dose information allows us to be more cognizant of radiation dose to our patients, thus resulting in improved patient care and management."