New York's North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System is replacing its entire fleet of CT scanners, spending $12 million on 15 GE Blueprint machines that promise to reduce radiation exposure by up to 50 percent.
It's part of a three-year, $50 million makeover of all the system's imaging equipment, reports Newsday.
The new hardware promises to produce high-definition images, in some cases at less than 1 millisievert (mSV) of radiation dose--the equivalent of 90 days of background exposure from television, the sun and other environmental sources--according to DOTmed News. That compares with 5 mSv to 10 mSv of radiation dose in traditional chest CT scans.
In addition, software called DoseWatch tracks radiation levels in a database, allowing the health system to monitor specific patients' exposure over time and to track levels for specific procedures. DoseWatch integrates with other image archiving systems and EHR systems as well, according to eWeek. The health system had been tracking exposure levels manually.
A team that GE calls "Low Dose Architects" also provides staff education, process improvements and equipment assessments.
The industry as a whole is looking for ways to reduce patients' radiology exposure--and to set protocols for scaling imaging down for children. A study published earlier this month found that multiple scans put children at slightly higher risk of leukemia and brain cancer.
In the May issue of Radiology, radiologist Richard Abramson wrote that his experience working for a large teleradiology firm serving multiple states highlighted an alarming variance in dose used in imaging.
And others in the industry have called for nuclear medicine databases and incidence-reporting systems as a means to track patients' exposure.
GE reportedly expects to develop technology to halve radiation exposure yet again within three years. At the same time, other imaging technology is being developed. Researchers in The Netherlands report success with lasers as a radiation-free mode of breast cancer imaging.