An Overview of a CT Protocol Optimization Process at a Major University Hospital Medical Center; Including Details On Physics Support, IT Support, and a Radiologist Based Quality Assurance Program
F Ranallo1,2, T Szczykutowicz1*, M Pozniak2, R Bruce2, (1) University of Wisconsin Department of Medical Physics, Madison, Wisconsin (2) University of Wisconsin Madison Department of Radiology, Madison, WisconsinSU-E-I-56 Sunday 3:00PM - 6:00PM Room: Exhibit Hall
Purpose: Modern CT departments with multiple scanner architectures can easily have hundreds of different protocols for different size patients and clinical requirements. Unless a systematic approach is taken to the optimization and quality assurance of these protocols, care to the patient in the form of image quality, dose, and clinical usability of the CT exams can be compromised. The purpose of this study is to present the model that has been put into a operational form after being organically developed by the medical physicists, radiologists, IT staff, and CT technologists at our over the last several years.
Methods: The process of CT protocol formation will be covered including: assessment of the CT scanner technology by the medical physicist, clinical protocol requirements determined by clinicians, optimization of protocols parameters by the medical physicist, final review of the protocols by the entire protocol optimization team, and the subsequent clinical application of the protocols. After implementation, a clinical quality assurance program enables radiologists to score CT exams while reading them on a standard PACS workstation and concurrently the medical physics team monitors the radiation dose (patient size specific) and reviews image quality concerns made by radiologists. The IT infrastructure for this QA assurance process will also be presented.
Results: We have successfully gone through several iterations of the CT protocol optimization procedure presented in this study at our institution. The incorporation of new technologies was reviewed and fit into our protocol optimization process as well. The operational procedures defined in this study have greatly increased the efficiency with which we manage and optimize protocols at our institution.
Conclusion: CT protocol optimization is an ongoing process; constant monitoring of patient dose and image quality, incorporation of new scanner technologies, and changing clinical requirements all necessitate an organized approach to CT protocols optimization.
Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: Equipment grant from GE healthcare.