The American College of Radiology (ACR) has launched the Dose Index Registry (DIR), a vehicle to which medical imaging facilities can submit anonymized dose information for all CT exams performed and compare their dose indices to those of other facilities of similar size or geographic area as well as to national benchmarks. Participating facilities will receive periodic feedback comparing their dose levels to these benchmarks, enabling them to adjust doses received from scans where necessary.
A new component of the ACR National Radiology Data Registry, the DIR will allows imaging providers and the imaging community to measure the effectiveness of dose-lowering efforts over time, says Richard L. Morin, PhD, DIR chair. “The imaging community is committed to optimizing CT dose and ensuring that patients receive only the amount necessary to get an effective medical image. The registry is a significant new tool to ensure proper CT dose use and that patients receive safe, quality imaging care moving forward.”
John A. Patti, MD, FACR, Chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, and ACR CEO Harvey L. MD, corroborate Morin’s comments. “Right now, many facilities may know their dose levels, but not how those relate to other practices or national benchmarks,” Patti asserts “The DIR will help imaging providers to gauge how effective their dose optimization efforts are by continuously supplying measurement of their dose over time. At the national level, it will provide a ‘big picture’ view of how dose reduction policies are working in the clinical setting.”Deeming dose optimization paramount to the ACR and the larger imaging community, Neiman characterizes the registry as “a leap forward” in the process of optimizing patient dose and the practice of safe, quality imaging care for patients.
To participate in the registry, each facility must enroll online through the NRDR portal. Software installed at the facility receives dose information from the CT scanner or PACS for every CT exam performed. Data are then anonymized and transmitted to the registry, and periodic reports are provided to the facility through the NRDR portal.
The ACR worked with Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), a global initiative that creates framework for seamless transmission of vital health information seamlessly, to overcome software compatibility issues. IHE established a Radiation Exposure Monitoring Profile, which allows vendors to collect and transmit information related to CT dose in a similar format. Patient identifiers are removed at the facility before data is transmitted to the DIR, thereby ensuring patient privacy.