Three months shy of its two-year anniversary, the American College of Radiology (ACR) reports that more than five million CT scans have been added to its Dose Index Registry™ (DIR). In addition to the scans, nearly three million exams have also been added, bringing the ACR closer to establishing national benchmarks for CT dose indices.
More than 600 facilities are registered for the DIR, but Richard Morin, PhD, chair of the ACR Does Index Registry, is hopeful that more will join the registry in years to come.
“As our early success demonstrates, patient safety and CT dose optimization is of utmost importance to radiology professionals, including radiologists, medical physicists and radiologic technologists,” he says in the press release. “As we get closer to establishing national benchmarks for CT dose indices, I hope more imaging facilities will consider participating in the DIR. Having the ability to track dose reduction efforts over time and ultimately lower the radiation dose that Americans receive from medical imaging scans is invaluable.”
Facilities already participating in the registry include private practices, hospital-based facilities, and academic centers. Participation is voluntary, but it also helps radiologists meet requirements for a Physician Quality Reporting System registry starting next year.
Introduced in May 2011, DIR is a radiology data registry that provides standardized, size-adjusted CT dose indices that facilitate meaningful comparisons — allowing imaging facilities to compare their CT dose indices to regional and national values. Information related to dose indices for all CT exams is collected, anonymized, transmitted to the ACR and stored in a database.
Institutions are then provided with periodic feedback reports comparing their results by body part and exam type to aggregate results. A sample report containing actual aggregated data from a participating facility is available here.
The DIR is part of the overall ACR approach to medical radiation reduction, which includes mandatory accreditation of all medical imaging providers and greater adoption of computerized decision support/imaging ordering systems based on ACR Appropriateness Criteria®.