The radiologist’s role in transforming patient care

The radiologist’s role in transforming patient care

December 01, 2017
Pediatrics X-Ray
Phoenix Children's Hospital
From the November 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

By Dr. Richard Towbin

The field of radiology is evolving at a breakneck pace, paving the way for new discoveries in diagnoses, treatments and outcomes.

At Phoenix Children’s Hospital, we are working to harness the full potential of radiology to improve, and ultimately transform, patient care.

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New technologies enable us to image patients with an unparalleled degree of precision, whether it’s using 3-D to measure the size of a tumor or pioneering a new procedure that allows cardiologists to evaluate a heart patient’s risk of ischemia. Meanwhile, diagnostic tools are rapidly evolving, helping us to reduce patients’ exposure to ionizing radiation while continually improving image quality.

As division chief of the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Phoenix Children’s, my team and I are constantly looking for new ways to improve pediatric practice. Our efforts run the gamut, including first-of-a-kind projects in radiation dose reduction, new imaging paradigms in MR, new technology such as spectral CT and avant-garde approaches to interventional therapy like 3-D imaging and real-time navigation of needle placement for biopsies.

Our culture is one of innovation and ingenuity, but it’s rooted in a commitment shared by each of the 145 staff members in our radiology department: to help and heal the patients in our care.

Reducing radiation exposure
Radiation dose is a consideration for all providers whose patients must undergo multiple scans, but the concern in pediatrics is even greater. When you consider that children with complex or chronic conditions will require imaging throughout their lives, you must take into account the cumulative lifetime dose. In the past few years, we have introduced several new technologies that allow us to achieve our aim of making accurate diagnoses using the lowest possible radiation dose. Among them are:

EOS imaging system: Phoenix Children’s providers now have access to the world’s most advanced full-body imaging tool to diagnose musculoskeletal disorders and spinal deformities in pediatric patients. The EOS takes simultaneous frontal and lateral images of patients in just 15 seconds. It provides high-quality, 3-D scans that allow us to see the entire body in one image, negating the need to stitch together multiple images. Only one EOS scan is needed to confirm or rule out common conditions such as scoliosis and lower limb abnormalities.

In addition to image quality and 3-D output, the EOS’ radiation dose is two to three times less than a general computed radiography X-ray and 20 times less than basic computed tomography (CT) scans. The dose delivered in a full spine exam is equivalent to just one week’s worth of natural radiation.

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