HIT must bolster efforts
to monitor radiation By Phil Colpas, Managing Editor J
ohn Lennon, who would have turned 70 last month, famously said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy doing other things.” A similar axiom can apply to some of history’s greatest triumphs and inventions; many fantastic discoveries were found while searching
for something else.
Case in point: Celebrating its 96th annual meeting in Chicago at the end of this month, the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) – and, for that matter, modern medicine as we know it – wouldn’t exist were it not for one such serendipitous accident.
On November 8, 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen was trying to repeat an experiment in which cathode rays light up salts and darken a photographic plate. During one of his attempts, he happened to notice a green glow by a nearby fl uorescent screen; when he held his hand between it and the cathode-ray tube, he could see his bones and soft tissue. Weeks after his discovery, he took the very fi rst x-ray picture, photographing his wife’s hand. Legend has it that when she saw her skeleton, she exclaimed, “I have seen my death!”
One can certainly understand Mrs. Roentgen’s overreaction, especially in 1895, when such sights must have been thought akin to sorcery. And she brought up a valid point: Overexposure to x-rays can hurt you. In fact, one of modern-day radiology’s biggest challenges is how to best use technology to ensure that patients aren’t subjected to harmful – or even lethal – doses of radiation.
A huge problem is that the effects of radiation are cumulative; if records are not accurately kept, patients could easily have tests repeated unnecessarily over many years; their bodies bombarded by avoidable doses of radiation. To that end, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and
the FDA have launched radiation safety initiatives to reduce unnecessary exposure in patients, according to an article published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to ASTRO, the patient protection plan “will improve safety and quality and reduce the chances of medical errors.” Meanwhile, the FDA is launching an initiative to: promote the safe use of imaging devices for medical use, support informed clinical decision making and increase patients’ aware- ness of their own exposure.
The agency also is collaborating with other organizations to develop a medical imaging history card that will allow patients to track their own im- aging history and share with physicians the cumulative history of radiation already received.
It’s been 115 years since Mrs. Roentgen saw her death through an x-ray; it’s time we used technology to make sure no one else has to.
Healthcare Information Systems Solutions since 1980 Publisher/ Executive Editor
ECHNOLOGY Health Management www.healthmgttech.com Kristine Russell email@example.com
EDITORIAL Managing Editor Phil Colpas
(941) 966-9521 ext. 124 firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Editor Mike Foley
(941) 966-9521 ext. 137 email@example.com
Emma McFarland Daniel Curtis Byrd
ADVERTISING SALES Midwest/Northeast Garry Garner (816) 941-0443 (816) 941-2441 Fax firstname.lastname@example.org
South/Southwest/West SERVICES Circulation Manager David Welsher
List Rentals/Single Back Rosemarie Chiaramonte Issues/Subscriptions (941) 966-9521 ext. 136 email@example.com
Reprints Julie Kavanagh
(941) 966-9521 ext. 116 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ad Contracts Manager Laura Moulton Ad Traffi c Manager Kathleen Shook
EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD CareGroup John D. Halamka, M.D., CIO
Harvard Medical School, Chair of HITSP Cleveland Clinic C. Martin Harris, M.D., CIO Elsevier Jonathan Teich, M.D., CMIO
Senior VP Finance, Chrissy Yamada, CFO
Evergreen Healthcare Clinical Systems Manager, Pamela Shedd, RN Springhill Medical Center New Mexico Bob Mayer, CIO
2506 Tamiami Trail North • Nokomis, FL 34275 (941) 966-9521 • Fax: (941) 966-2590 www.healthmgttech.com
nP Communications, LLC Printed in the USA.
HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY (ISSN: 1074- 4770). Published monthly by NP Communications, LLC., 2506 Tamiami Trail North, Nokomis, FL 34275 (941) 966- 9521. Subscription rates: $96 per year in the United States; $118 Canada/Mexico; International subscriptions are $173 per year (surface) and $293 per year (airmail). Current single copies (if available) are $14 each (U.S), and $18 each (international). Back issues (if available) are $16 each (U.S.) and $20 each (International). Payment must be made in U.S. funds on a branch of a U.S. bank within the continental United States and accompany request. Subscription inquiries: subscriptions@ nelsonpub.com. Title® registered U.S. Patent Office. Copyright© 2010 by
NP Communications, LLC., All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage-and-retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Offi ce of publication: Periodicals Postage Paid at Nokomis,
2 November 2010 HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY
FL 34275 and at additional mailing offi ces. Postmaster: Send address changes to Health Management Technology, 2506 Tamiami Trail North, Nokomis, FL 34275-3482.
Health Management Technology is also available on microfilm/fiche from PROQUEST Information and Learning, 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106 USA, (313) 761-4700. Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (978) 750-8400.
Publishers of this magazine assume no responsibility for statements made by their advertisers in business competition, nor do they assume responsibility for state- ments/opinions expressed or implied in the columns of this magazine.
Department of Health Covisint David Miller, CSO
Gregg Willinger (914) 293-0429