In late August, 2011 The Joint Commission issued a sentinel alert concerning the radiation risks of diagnostic imaging. This follows California passing a dose reporting law last year, known as SB 1237, that will require providers to record radiation dose on both the diagnostic image and in a patient’s medical record. In addition, the law stipulates that all radiation overexposures will have to be reported to patients, treating physicians, and the California Department of Health. This law will effectively bring the dose reporting requirements and monitoring to roughly the same standard as that currently in place for radiation therapy.
Much debate surrounds the successful implementation of this law and the burdens it will place on hospital administrators and medical staff. The California Department of Public Health has produced, and is currently modifying, a question-and-answer document that will help providers meet the requirements of SB 1237. This question-and-answer document may help in your preparation for answering questions stemming from The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Alert concerning radiation risks and reporting in radiology.