Healthcare News & Insights

Cutting-edge hospitals using new technology to make CT scans safer

Medical technology can sometimes be a double-edged sword. CT scans in particular. 

While they can be used to diagnose many different types of medical issues, they’re also a source of significant radiation exposure. So what’s a hospital to do?

Bringing in new technology is one solution. According to the American Medical Association, more than two dozen hospitals across the country are using state-of-the-art CT scanners from GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of General Electric Company, to reduce the amount of radiation patients are exposed to during a scan.

Two such hospitals are New York’s North Shore-LIJ Health System, which recently purchased 15 new scanners, and Salt Lake City’s Intermountain Healthcare System, which has purchased four so far with plans to buy 10 more in the near future.

The new machines from GE reduce the amount of radiation needed to produce an image by as much as 40%. Medical device companies Siemens, Philips and Toshiba also offer scanners that cut radiation doses by 20% to 50%.

The technology’s popularity is the result of two factors: more medical professionals are aware of the dangers of overexposure to radiation and increased regulatory pressure. Both California and Congress have moved to regulate medical radiology in order to protect patients from overexposure.

GE is promoting the new scanners as part of a holistic approach toward reducing patients’ radiation exposure. Their Blueprint program helps hospitals and other imaging facilities measure and track radiation doses in addition to improving the education and training of their radiologists. The American College of Radiology also offers radiologists training on how to lower doses and avoid unnecessary scans.

One side benefit for hospitals investing in the new technology is a more patient-friendly facility, a significant factor in a hospital’s ability to attract more patients and increase revenue — a win-win situation for both the hospital and the community it serves.

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