Americans are being exposed to more medical radiation than ever, however, no one is tracking the amount of radiation individual patients receive. Unlike medication information, radiation dose from diagnostic imaging is not part of a patient’s medical record. The National Institutes of Health plans to implement a new program to change that. The Clinical Center is poised to become the first facility in the country to purchase equipment that automatically records a patient’s radiation dose exposure and log it into an electronic medical record. Going forward, the Clinical Center will not purchase equipment without such capabilities. The new program was initially supposed to be unveiled this past summer but has been delayed until February 2011.
The California Senate is following the NIH's lead. On May 28 the Senate approved a bill requiring radiation dose to be recorded on diagnostic images and a patient's medical record. The Los Angeles Times reports that the legislation comes in response to radiation overdoses at several California facilities in 2008 and 2009. TaAnya Carter, one of the 260 California patients who were exposed to eight times the normal radiation dose during a CT brain perfusion scan, shared her story here with the Workshop.
Watch the video below to learn more about what motivated Drs. David Bluemke and Ronald Neumann, of the NIH Clinical Center, to demand more of manufacturers.