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Lakeland Health Receives Patient-Centric Imaging Award
Sep 3, 2015 Share

Lakeland Health was recently awarded a 2015 Patient-Centric Imaging Award from HealthImaging – an online news site with a focus on medical imaging.

The annual award recognizes six radiology programs across the nation that have undertaken a project to improve the overall patient experience and advance patient-centered care. Lakeland received the award on behalf of our radiation safety program within Epic implemented by the radiology department.

“Evidence demonstrates an unprecedented increase in the number of CT scans being performed nationally,” said Angie Padilla, Director of Patient Care Services, Radiology. “Lakeland chose to implement this program in an effort to safely monitor the number of CT scans performed on patients within our organization.”

According to the medical literature, 50 mSv to 100 mSv of radiation is associated with “some increase in cancer incidence” (increased lifetime cancer risk of 0.05%). Each CT delivers about 10 mSv of radiation. This means that every five CT scans is equal to one in 2,500 patients with cancer.

As part of the radiation safety program, a weekly report is created within Epic to help monitor and provide more information about at-risk patients. An at-risk patient is anyone under 40 years old, with a benign diagnosis and five previous CT studies of the neck, chest, lumbar spine and abdomen, or abdomen and pelvis. Based on an at-risk patient’s medical and surgical history, their case is reviewed before they are admitted into the radiation safety program. Admittance into the program adds a best-practice advisory (BPA) to the patient’s chart, and sends a letter to the patient’s primary care physician, advising them to use caution when scheduling future imaging tests.

The BPA can be bypassed, but it causes providers to think more carefully about the tests they are ordering. Epic also generates a report that lists each time a BPA is shown, and how the provider responded. So far, 115 at-risk patients have been admitted to the program, and 51 CT studies have been cancelled or changed to an exam with lower radiation exposure.

“This program allows our patients to partner with their physician and to become more involved in their care,” said Padilla. “Each of our physicians is a champion for the program with approximately 40 percent of all CT scans ordered for at-risk patients being referred to a non-ionizing exam or cancelled.”

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