AAPM hosts summit to build national consensus of CT scan techniques

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The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) hosted a national summit in Atlanta last week, calling for the standardization of scanning techniques as a way of addressing the recent media attention and concerns of patients undergoing CT scans.

The summit—which included medical physicists, radiologists, technologists and equipment manufacturers from the U.S.—achieved its goal of identifying several issues that need to be dealt with by the medical imaging community, in order to address the safety concerns of patients at U.S. hospitals and clinics, noted summit co-organizer Cynthia McCollough, PhD, a professor of radiologic physics at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Speakers at the summit examined several CT protocols developed by hospitals in the U.S. and explained that up to now, most hospitals and imaging centers have developed their own protocols based on recommendations from the manufacturer. Many speakers asserted that with the increased capabilities and complexities of modern CT systems, it does not make sense for each institution to develop its own protocols.

As a possible solution of making CT protocols available via the internet to hospitals and clinics across the U.S. was offered, which would help physicians determine the quality of a CT exam and the amount of radiation used. In addition, the summit called for imaging professionals and equipment manufacturers to define and use a consistent set of terminology to eliminate ambiguity when staff moves between different types of scanners or when technical issues are discussed.

According to William Hendee, PhD, chair of AAPM's Technology Assessment Initiative and a professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University, and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and co-organizer of the summit, "[These efforts] will go a long way toward addressing patient safety concerns and ensuring that CT exams are performed as safely and effectively as possible."