Nuclear medicine database aims to curb radiation exposure

The driving force behind Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital's creation of a data repository is to track and limit nuclear medicine radiation overexposure, AuntMinnie.com reported. The researchers recently published their findings online in the journal Radiology.

The database consists of information culled from patient reports via the new PARSE, or Perl Automation for Radiopharmaceutical Selection and Extraction. The open-source system validated more than 2,300 nuclear medicine reports from September 1985 through February 2011.

"Large-scale repositories of radiation exposure data can be extracted from institutional nuclear medicine report archives with high recall and precision," the authors wrote. "Such repositories enable new approaches in radiation exposure patient safety initiatives and patient-specific radiation dose monitoring."

Last month, University of Pennsylvania Hospital radiologist Jason Itri and several of his colleagues called for a national incident reporting system for medical imaging to help improve radiation safety in an article published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Itri told FierceHealthIT that such a system was "inevitable."

"There is a need on the part of physicians, payers, government and consumers to establish reliable metrics to determine the quality of care relative to imaging, and to do this, we must reliably be able to track the types and frequency of errors," Itri said. "Quantification and characterization of errors is a tremendous field of opportunity, and imaging professionals need to make it a priority."

To learn more:
- here's the Radiology abstract
- read the AuntMinnie.com article (registration required)

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