“The medical imaging industry’s number one priority has always been high-quality patient care,” said Gail Rodriguez, Executive Director of MITA. “Ensuring operators are appropriately trained to use medical imaging and radiation therapy technologies is just one of the many steps manufacturers have taken to dramatically improve patient care and safety. MITA fully supports legislative efforts to build on this commitment through training and standards that ensure safe and effective diagnosis and treatment therapies, and we look forward to working with Congress on the passage and implementation of the CARE Act.”
Yesterday, MITA announced a series of new dose-reduction initiatives, including the computed tomography (CT) Access Control Standard to provide an extra safeguard by standardizing the protocols that ensure only an authorized operator can alter the controls of a CT scanner. This industry-wide standard will require the establishment of administrative privileges, access and authorization levels and the recording of clinical protocols to help ensure safe and appropriate usage.
MITA members are also incorporating new breakthrough product features and system innovations that reduce radiation dose while continually improving the ability of these technologies to aid physicians in diagnosing and treating diseases. These new dose-reduction efforts build on existing industry-wide initiatives to develop and implement additional patient protection features for CT and radiation therapy (RT) equipment, guaranteeing scans are safe and effective. For example:
· In 2010, MITA published the CT Dose Check Standard, including two new features that assist the imaging team in providing better care: dose notifications and dose alerts.
· CT manufacturers also released the CT Dose Check Initiative, a commitment to add new features to CT scanners, such as the dose notification and alert features as well as a new dose recording feature to track dose and develop reference dose levels to help providers understand how their facility compares to local and national standards.
· Together with the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), MITA also launched the Radiation Therapy Readiness Check Initiative to further enhance the safety of radiation therapy equipment through the development and implementation of additional patient protection features that confirm that patient treatment plans are delivered as intended, and that radiation therapy equipment, accessories, and patients are properly positioned prior to delivery of therapy.
· Additionally, MITA supports the American College of Radiology (ACR)’s Dose Index Registry (DIR), which allows imaging facilities to compare their CT dose indices to regional and national values. Data from the DIR are being used to establish national benchmarks for CT dose to help ensure that patients receive safe, quality imaging care.
In addition to these initiatives, MITA collaborates with the larger imaging community on initiatives like the ‘Image Wisely’, ‘Image Gently’ and ‘Choosing Wisely’ campaigns, which focus on reducing unnecessary radiation exposure for adults and children, as well as educating patients and caregivers about benefits and risks of diagnostics and therapies. MITA also champions the radiation dose management and optimization ALARA principle, or “as low as reasonably achievable,” into all imaging procedures and technologies. MITA has also been a staunch supporter of accreditation of imaging facilities and standardized reporting of medical errors associated with imaging and radiation therapy equipment.
MITA advocates for the development and use of physician-developed appropriateness criteria to guide treatment decisions and training of hospital and imaging facility personnel who perform medical imaging exams and deliver RT treatments. In order to provide optimal care and prevent medical errors, physicians and technicians must account for the patient’s individual needs, including adjusting dose levels based on these needs and characteristics. By providing proper training and adhering to these standards and initiatives, we can limit unnecessary radiation exposure and ensure patients receive the life-saving benefits of medical imaging and radiation therapy technologies.
The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of NEMA, the Association for Electrical & Medical Imaging Manufacturers, is the collective voice of medical imaging and therapy equipment manufacturers, innovators, and product developers. For more information visit www.medicalimaging.org
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