- Legal obligations for dose reporting are expanding.
- Qaelum solution uses data directly from PACS to provide radiation dose analyses at multiple levels.
- It will support standardization of dose management and reduction across the hospital.
(ECR, Booth #103, Hall Expo A) Agfa HealthCare announces that it has signed its first agreement to implement its new Total Quality Monitoring dose management solution*, at the St. Pierre Ottignies hospital in Belgium. The solution, which includes Qaelum’s tqm|DOSE™ platform, is part of an RIS/PACS (radiology information system/picture archiving and communication system) upgrade at the hospital, and integrates directly with the PACS. It supports the hospital to fulfill its legal dose reporting obligations, as well as to achieve its long-term goal of increasing dose awareness amongst clinicians prescribing exams.
University and industry collaboration
The Total Quality Monitoring solution uses the information in the PACS to provide patient radiation dose analyses at the study, patient, device, modality or institution level. Information on radiation exposure levels can support the referring physician in making a more-informed decision, while allowing the radiology department to conform to best practices and to regulations, for example. The platform also provides all the tools needed to perform Root Cause Analysis, to understand and solve potential problems.
Qaelum has become a leader in advanced dose management software solutions. Its tqm|DOSE™ platform was developed by the radiology specialists of a university hospital. Development began as part of a ‘non-commercial’ initiative, and was very focused on the needs of the field.
Digitized reporting saves time and effort
Increasingly, patient radiation dose is the concern of everyone involved in patient care and health from radiologists to clinicians, patients themselves, and public authorities. The legal obligations for dose reporting in Belgium are handled by the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (AFCN/FANC). The obligatory trimestral dose reports have been expanding in scope, to include e.g. more modalities, examinations and parameters. When completed manually, these reports can be very time consuming for the hospital or clinic.
As part of a planned upgrade of its RIS and PACS, the St. Pierre Ottignies hospital in Belgium determined to implement a dose monitoring solution. The radiology department at the hospital is almost completely digitized, so most of the dose information is already available digitally in standard DICOM format.
The hospital chose Agfa HealthCare’s Total Quality Monitoring dose management solution, with Qaelum’s tqm|DOSE™ platform. “We looked at different solutions and visited other hospitals to compare the dose management options available,” comments Dr. Puttemans of St. Pierre Ottignies. “While many solutions collect data from the modalities, the Agfa HealthCare/Qaelum solution collects them directly from the PACS. That means you do not have to connect the modalities to retrieve all of the data, and there is no problem with the different modality formats.”
Greater awareness and more efficient training
For St. Pierre Ottignies, there were several features that played a role in the choice of the Agfa HealthCare/Qaelum solution. These include the technologist analysis, which helps track the average dose of each user. By allowing targeted training and alerts, it will support improvements in overall dose management and a more uniform, predictable dose per exam.
In addition, more and more departments outside radiology use X-ray modalities. These units are often less aware of the radiation dose issues and requirements. The quality monitoring tools from the Total Quality Monitoring solution fit the expected requirement to monitor all ionizing dose producing modalities in the facility. Greater awareness will help standardize dose management and reduction across the hospital.
“We are very pleased to be implementing the first Total Quality Monitoring solution, with tqm|DOSE™, at St Pierre Ottignies,” comments Erik Van Rijn, Business Manager Growth Initiatives of Agfa HealthCare. “This joint solution with Qaelum will help support medical imaging departments help support medical imaging departments’ goal of utilizing ALARA- (as low as reasonably achievable) compliant X-ray imaging protocols, as well as optimized workflows and quality assurance. We are proud that we are supporting St Pierre Ottignies’ goals to improve quality management, reduce dose and improve the delivery of patient care.”
* Agfa HealthCare Total Quality Monitoring Solution with Qaelum tqm|DOSE™ platform is not available in the U.S. or Canada.