Benefits and limitations for the use of radiation dose management systems in medical imaging. Practical experience in a university hospital

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British Institute of Radiology
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Objectives: Radiation dose management systems (DMS) are currently used to help improve radiation protection in medical imaging and interventions. This study presents our experience using a homemade DMS called DOLQA (Dose On-Line for Quality Assurance). Methods: Our DMS is connected to 14 X-ray systems in a university hospital linked to the central data repository of a large network of 16 public hospitals in the Autonomous Community of Madrid, with 6.7 million inhabitants. The system allows us to manage individual patient dose data and groups of procedures with the same clinical indications, and compare them with diagnostic reference levels (DRLs). The system can also help to prioritise optimisation actions. Results: This study includes results of imaging examinations from 2020, with 37,601 procedures and 286,471 radiation events included in the radiation dose structured reports (RDSR), for computed tomography (CT), interventional procedures, positron emission tomography-CT (PET-CT) and mammography. Conclusions: The benefits of the system include: automatic registration and management of patient doses, creation of dose reports for patients, information on recurrent examinations, high dose alerts, and help to define optimisation actions. The system requires the support of medical physicists and implication of radiologists and radiographers. DMSs must undergo periodic quality controls and audit reports must be drawn up and submitted to the hospital’s quality committee. The drawbacks of DMSs include the need for continuous external support (medical physics experts, radiologists, radiographers, technical services of imaging equipment and hospital informatics services) and the need to include data on clinical indication for the imaging procedures. Advances in knowledge: DMS perform automatic management of radiation doses, produces patient dose reports, and registers high dose alerts to suggest optimisation actions. Benefits and limitations are derived from the practical experience in a large university hospital.
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