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Published on November 14, 2017

NKCH Radiology Reduces CT Radiation Doses While Maintaining Quality

NRDR LogoNorth Kansas City Hospital is participating in the voluntary Dose Index Registry through the American College of Radiology. The registry compares NKCH’s CT radiation dose indices to local, regional and national averages. With upgraded CTs, the hospital already has seen a 30% reduction in radiation dosing.

The challenge is to maintain image quality while lowering the radiation dose. “It’s a constant struggle, but as technology improves, we’re able to gradually diminish the dose of radiation,” said Christopher C. Formen, MD, a radiologist with Northland Radiology. “When patients come to North Kansas City Hospital, they can rest assured this program puts us at the cutting edge of radiation reduction.”

Less Radiation

NKCH CT Locations

North Kansas City Hospital
2800 Clay Edwards Dr.
North Kansas City, MO

North Kansas City Hospital Pavilion
2790 Clay Edwards Dr.
North Kansas City, MO

Medical Imaging
9501 North Oak Trfy.
Kansas City, MO

Tremont Imaging Center
5501 NW 62nd Ter.,
Ste. 200
Kansas City, MO

NKCH has made great strides with its CT technology. Over time, the hospital has upgraded seven 16-slice CTs to 64-slice CTs at four imaging locations. These machines feature adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction. With this complex computer algorithm, the upgraded CTs not only deliver less radiation, but they also reduce image noise and provide higher quality images than standard CTs.

“You need a certain amount of radiation to penetrate the body and to see what you need to see, and computers help us limit the amount,” Dr. Formen said. “ASiR allows us to lower the dose tremendously because the computer generates the data we need without having to use the radiation.”

Currently, NKCH radiologists are focused on reducing CT radiation doses for higher volume CTs, such as head, chest, and combined abdomen and pelvis exams, but all fluoroscopy radiation dosing will be examined.

Commitment to Quality

Through its participation in the Dose Index Registry, NKCH’s dose indices for all CT exams are collected, masked and transmitted to an ACR database. Periodic feedback reports compare NKCH’s results by body part and exam type with aggregate results from other hospitals. Dr. Formen and other radiologists in his practice have set their sights on delivering mean radiation doses below the 50th percentile compared with other hospitals.

Regular feedback helps the NKCH Radiology Department adjust its protocols to optimize the radiation doses patients receive and improve quality. Registry data will be used to establish national benchmarks for CT radiation dose indices.

“This is always going to be a work in progress, which is the way it should be,” Dr. Formen said. “We should never be satisfied; we should always try to lower radiation doses.”

Photo of Christopher C. Formen, MD

Christopher C. Formen, MD

Dr. Formen earned his medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Public Health and completed his residency in radiology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and Saint Luke’s Hospital.