UCSF CT Radiation Dose Registry Wins $1.9M Grant!

UCSF Radiology’s Rebecca Smith-Bindman, MD and her team of investigators were recently awarded a $1.9 million grant by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to fund the UCSF CT Radiation Dose Registry and ensure a patient-centered approach to imaging!

Computed tomography (CT) is used frequently – 75 million exams are conducted annually in the US—and with high dosages of radiation. One CT exam delivers up to 500 times the radiation of a chest x-ray. Despite this, there are very few standards across radiology for the conduct of CT examinations. Because of this, there is a wide variation in the doses patients receive when they undergo CT and radiologists are routinely using a higher dose level than deemed medically necessary for diagnosis.  Higher dose levels are associated with a higher cancer risk.

Little progress has been made to lower dose levels, despite a greater focus on CT dose reduction from consumer advocates, medical groups, quality organizations and legislators. Manufacturers are developing lower dose machines, but they could take decades to roll out at a national level.

The team led by Dr. Smith-Bindman has proposed research that will focus on developing and implementing strategies to standardize and optimize the protocols and doses used for CT across a large number of institutions in the US, Canada, and the UK and in collaboration with Radimetrics, a medical imaging radiation dose monitoring software company.  Ideally, this registry will improve patient safety and lower the risk of future cancers related to CT imaging.

Additional goals of the collaboration include:

·         Collect detailed data to assess current CT practice
·         To use these data to develop meaningful metrics to summarize dose at the facility level
·         To create benchmarks for assessing the appropriateness of dose
·         To test organizational strategies for optimizing dose
·         To disseminate & implement successful strategies to the larger healthcare committee.

The project will run for three years and will rely on existing relationships where the details of data collection have already been established.

This grant is just one of 71 awards approved by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors and part of a subset of studies selected to improve efforts of data collection through new sources.

For more information about the PCORI Board grants, please see here.