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Intermountain Healthcare program tracks cumulative radiation exposure

Published: Wednesday, May 22 2013 3:39 p.m. MDT

MURRAY — Intermountain Healthcare has launched a new system that tracks cumulative radiation exposure from medical exams.

Intermountain is the only health care organization in the country currently monitoring medical radiation exposure, said David Barnes, an emergency physician at Intermountain Medical Center.

The tracking goes back to August 2012. It started with some of the most popular and higher dose exams, including CT scans, nuclear cardiology scans, interventional radiology procedures and cardiac catheterizations.

There is consensus among medical experts that the more radiation a patient receives, the more at risk they are for future health problems.

“People are aware of this risk, and they want to know how to manage this risk, and they want to be able to discuss it with their doctors,” said Dr. Karen Conner, a radiologist at Intermountain Healthcare.

The information is vital for physicians and patients when making medical decisions.

“This program allows us to look into a patient’s record and quickly see their lifetime radiation dose,” Barnes said. “And then we decide on the safest, best tests for them at the time they arrive at the emergency room.”

In some cases, the information may be obtained with a medical test that does not use radiation, such as ultrasound or MRI scans.

Patients can access that information online through Intermountain Healthcare’s My Health portal.

—Viviane Vo-Duc

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