by Diana Bradley
, Staff Writer | June 22, 2012
On Thursday, GE Healthcare unveiled its plan to reduce patient CT radiation dose by up to 50 percent, hot on the heels of recent media hype surrounding the potential radiation exposure risk CT scans pose to patients.
DOTmed News was in attendance at the Lake Success, N.Y.-based North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System's Center for Advanced Medicine -- former home of the United Nations -- as the company revealed its comprehensive new program, called the GE Blueprint for low-dose imaging.
"The Blueprint is all about taking a programmatic approach," Kenneth Denison, an executive for CT Low Dose Strategy Healthcare Systems at GE, told DOTmed News. "It's about people, process and technology combining to continue to drive CT dose lower and lower."
[Watch an exclusive DOTmed News video of the event here.]
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The company plans to work with hundreds of physicians and health systems that represent 3,500 hospitals with 70-80 percent of the total patient admissions for the U.S., developing system-specific solutions at no charge.
Nationwide hospital outreach and GE commitment builds on $800 million investment in low-dose solutions over 15 years.
"I think it's important that all imaging is effective and high quality and it's a fantastic, rich technology that can impact both outcomes and costs," GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt said at Thursday's press conference.
The Blueprint model
As part of their blueprint, North Shore-LIJ is incorporating 16 new advanced GE CT systems and low-dose technologies, including: Veo; DoseWatch, a first-of-its-kind management tool that helps providers measure, track and optimize patient dose over time; and ASiR low-dose image reconstruction technology.
GE's Blueprint will follow North Shore-LIJ's model, which The Joint Commission's president, Mark Chassin, "saluted" in a statement on Thursday for "safely adopting new technology and making sure it operates appropriately and delivers lower doses of radiation."
Using a so-called "Low Dose Architects" team, GE Blueprint would set up dose management programs, including staff education, process improvements, equipment assessments and training of CT technologies that can enable low-dose, high-definition imaging.
"The Low Dose Architects will work with health systems to understand where they are relative to the better programs that are out there today and then how they get from where they are to continuously lowering dose and reducing patient exposure," said Denison.
North Shore-LIJ president and CEO Michael Dowling said that when pursuing such an initiative, more important than the equipment itself is being able to partner with a vendor.