The Joint Commission, which accredits healthcare organizations in the U.S, has issued a Sentinel Event Alert on "radiation risks of diagnostic imaging." Among the several concerns expressed in the Alert is the harm a patient can suffer from the “cumulative effect of … multiple doses over time."
For that reason, the Commission expects institutions to put processes in place to ensure that imaging doses are as low as possible and that unnecessary imaging is avoided entirely.
A Sentinel Alert means the Commission will now hold healthcare organizations responsible for actions called for in the alert. One way to meet the concerns raised by this new Alert is by adopting a cloud-based medical data exchange.
Services like eMix are increasingly well-established tools for avoiding the redundant imaging caused by older forms of data exchange such as burning files to CD. We've described in this blog the pitfalls of exchanging imaging files by CD and why frustrated physicians often order redundant exams when CD exchanges fail.
eMix helps minimize redundant imaging by enabling facilities to exchange files reliably in just a few minutes, even if the IT systems at either end of the exchange are proprietary products that don't normally "talk to each other." Contrast this to the frequent lost, misplaced, unopenable, or corrupted CDs that often lead to redundant imaging when transfer-by-CD is used.
The parent company for eMix, DR Systems, offers other technology that will help institutions meet the Commission's criteria on safer imaging. The Unity(™) Platform Enterprise Imaging Solution includes tools that raise clinicians' awareness of, and accountability for, appropriate dosage levels. These tools include a feature that enables a supervisor to monitor staff adherence to protocols.
The Joint Commission's Sentinel Alert highlights why patient safety and accreditation are powerful reasons to consider the approaches epitomized by eMix and Unity.