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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

CT Scans & Radiation - Keeping Our Patients Safe

CT Scan

Any test or treatment that involves radiation also involves some risk, and CT scans are no exception. Once your physician has ordered the test and weighed the risks versus the benefits, we make sure we are not exposing our patients to unnecessary radiation. And when it’s in our patients’ best interest to have a CT scan, we take precautions to eliminate as much risk as possible.

Steps We Take to Ensure Patient Safety

We want all of our patients to know that their safety is our number one concern, so we are sharing some of the steps we take to ensure our patients’ safety every time. We believe in creating an environment for the safest possible processes and important safety checks.

We follow all standard of care guidelines for CT scan safety, and we have also implemented additional measures to keep our patients safe.

Standard of Care Guidelines

  • We have expert board certified radiologists interpreting the exams and results who have sub-specialties in CT imaging
  • Our radiologists have developed industry leading exam protocols that enhance the diagnostic capability of your CT scans, while also incorporating a reduced dose
  • Our technologists are fully licensed by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s Division of Nuclear Safety
  • Our technologists are registered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), which includes a biannual requirement for continuing education/training
  • We have a Quality Assurance program that is managed by the Medical Physicist and Technical Coordinator and incorporates daily, weekly and annual physics testing, as well as scheduled planned and preventive maintenance with the vendors to ensure appropriate output of the scanners

Additional Safety Measures We Have Implemented

We are an American College of Radiology (ACR) accredited facility which means that, according to ACR standards:

  • We have voluntarily gone through a rigorous review process to be sure our facility meets nationally-accepted standards
  • Our employees are well qualified, through education and certification, to perform and interpret your medical images
  • Our equipment is appropriate for the test or treatment you will receive, and our facility meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines

We work closely with our Medical Physicist and Radiation Safety Officer to ensure that our equipment is delivering the appropriate dose, and we have reviewed our protocols to ensure appropriate techniques are being utilized. Our doses of radiation are reported to be well below the national averages, which means patients are receiving less radiation during CT scans, which equates to less risk.

Our state-of-the-art equipment with up-to-date software for dose calculation and dose-modulation reduces radiation by approximately 20 percent.

A third party vendor verifies of our dose output as part of our QA program.

Each patient’s CT scan order is matched to an appropriate scan protocol that ensures we are scanning only the appropriate areas as identified by the clinical diagnosis.

For certain abdominal exams, we tailor the dose to each patient based on their Body Mass Index, which can result in a significant dose reduction.

Our Health Learning Center on the third floor of the Galter Pavilion is where patients, visitors and families can work with a health educator to learn about radiation exposure.

Our Quality Rating

In an effort to share as much information as possible, we have created a Quality Rating section that provides data about our performance. We share the most thorough and up-to-date information possible, regularly adding new quality measures for our patients to review.

Learn more about how we compare to national benchmarks when it comes to radiation safety>>

Contact

If you have questions about the safety of CT scans or the process we use to ensure your safety, please contact us via our patient feedback form.

Last UpdateDecember 27, 2011
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