Communicating radiation

risks in paediatric imaging

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WHO “Communicating Radiation Risks in Pediatric Imaging Information to support healthcare discussion about benefit and risk” – free book available for download

Report by Donna Newman, Director of Professional Practice ISRRT

WHO has just published the document “Communication radiation risks in pediatric imaging: Information to support health care discussions about benefit and risk”. This document is intended to be a tool for health care providers to communicate about risks associated with pediatric imaging procedures. The document is available to download and distribute and use in our everyday practices of radiology as professional. You will find this document on the ISRRT website or radiation-risks-pediatric-imaging/en/. The document has been written in English but you will also find there the executive summary in Arabic, Chinese, English French, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese on the WHO’s website. The ISRRT wants to take this opportunity to thank each of the members that contributed their expertise in the review process over the last four years of these past several drafts. As the official global voice for technologist through the world the ISRRT is always asked to review draft documents pertaining to our profession from the WHO. Members expertise, dedication and willingness to contribute their expertise remains the driving force to keeping the technologist voice included in these global documents that are being developed and distributed throughout the world.

  In the World Health Organization announce for distributing the book they thanked everyone that had contributed to the making of this document. I am happy to report that the ISRRT had representation and involvement in every event that was held to develop this document. As Director of Professional Practice, I represented the technologist voice at the Side Event on Imaging to Save the Kids that was held last year at the 68th World Health Assembly which covered Risk Communication in imaging Children. I was presented on ISRRT contribution and collaboration on this subject. I also presented at the workshop on Risk Communication in Bonn Germany in 2012 and presented the technologist role in pediatric procedures. We introduced the idea of the team approach and each member of the team plays an important role in risk communication in working with children to ensure they aren’t receiving more radiation then is needed. Cynthia Cowling as Director of Education in 2010 presented at the first workshop on this subject and helped develop the framework for this draft document. I remember her telling me that it needed more technologist voice in the document. Since 2012 I have also been involved in two Webinars to review comments that were given and again expand the document to include more information. I want the membership to know that each time I was asked to review and compile input from this particular draft document which by the way included four reviews over this past four years, I am happy to report that I received meaningful additions and corrections to the data in the book from our members. I believe that because of the members expert voices and contribution the end document was enhance and definitely include the technologist voice. Once more thank you again and remember that the technologist voice is important and because of your dedication our efforts to always collaborate with the World Health Organization will continue.

 As many of you may realize that global consensus takes a long time with this project starting in 2010 and finally getting a completed in 2016 but in the end the health care community ends up with a good product that can be used by many in the medical community. As a professional organization we can each contribute again to the global impact of each of our member societies help in the strategic dissemination of this resource to its membership to be used for information and education for patients, families and community about communicating risk and benefit on pediatric cases in radiology as well as a resource for advocacy for patient advocates, patient organization and professional bodies to use as a resource.

This new resource covers important information about pediatric procedure; chapter one presents the scientific background of radiation doses in pediatric procedures and provides an overview of known and potential risks associated with radiation exposure during childhood.

 Chapter two covers the radiation protection concepts and principles and summarizes the key factors to establish and maintain a radiation safety culture in health care to improve practice. Finally, chapter three covers Risk Benefit Dialog and how to do this during your procedures with Pediatrics also providing practical tips to support the risk–benefit discussion.

Chapter three also includes examples of questions and answers patients may have about radiation risk and how a professional might answer the question. Each chapter includes colorful graphs and inserts that give valuable information that can be used in everyday practice for all members of the health care team including technologist, radiologist, physicists, referring physicians and nurses. This tool is to be used to help communicate with the following stakeholder regarding risk and benefit including fellow professional, the patients, with pediatric family who child is having the procedure or the representative with the child and also can be used as a way to educate a wider community.

This tool will also help to improve the radiation safety culture by helping to share the correct attitudes, values and norms related to patient safety while ensuring safer and more effective health care delivery. It will also help in clinical governance, clinical effectiveness, clinical audit, risk management strategies, education and training.

This book helps to contribute to optimization as low as is reasonable achievable because we know that one size doesn’t not fit all so we need to use appropriate equipment, customizes exposures for the specific patients especially pediatrics use clinical indication specific protocols accept imaging quality sufficient to answer the clinical question. By using this type of imaging as professional’s we will imperative balance benefit against risk implement the rule for Justification. We all have an important role to play in the team Justification and Optimization of dose to the pediatric patient.

The ISRRT is asking it members to download and distribute this document within their own countries and make it available to all stakeholders to be used within their work places.