2011-09-06 18:51:24 UTC

Joint Commission Issues Alert on Dangers of Medical Radiation

Sept. 9, 2011

The Joint Commission's alert on the dangers of medical radiation is a strong message to imaging facilities that they need to pay more attention to formalizing their procedures for protecting patients from unnecessary radiation doses. It is especially important for gastroenterological practices that provide CT colonography to consider incorporating this information into their safety programs.

Imaging results are frequently the key to determining a patient’s diagnosis. Therefore, the fact that X-rays are classified as a carcinogen by several health organizations is easily minimized. However, it is not entirely surprising that on Aug. 24, The Joint Commission issued a sentinel alert on the dangers of medical radiation. The announcement is a strong message to imaging facilities that they need to pay more attention to formalizing their procedures for protecting patients from unnecessary radiation doses. Raising awareness among staff and patients of the increased risks associated with cumulative doses can help reduce avoidable diagnostic radiation and its associated risks. It is especially important for gastroenterological practices that provide CT colonography to consider incorporating this information into their safety programs.

In its alert, the commission offers guidance on eliminating avoidable radiation dosing and links those recommendations to their accreditation standards. A culture of safety is key to incorporating the guidelines, recommendations and educational suggestions offered in the alert.

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