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Radiation Protection of the Patient

Radiation Protection of the Patient Module

Medical imaging plays an important role in modern diagnosis and treatment, and its use continues to increase. Many medical imaging modalities utilise ionising radiation, and some studies have indicated an association with potential slight increases in cancer incidences later in life. While all agree that the risk is low, referring medical practitioners need to be aware of the risks, as well as the benefits of radiation.

Radiation Protection of the Patient landing page screenshot ARPANSA in collaboration with the medical sector has produced a Radiation Protection of the Patient (RPOP) Module to increase understanding of the radiation safety aspects of medical imaging. The Module’s aim is to provide information for referrers to help assure that radiation use is justified and patients are not exposed unnecessarily. It is also important to have information available in order to communicate the benefits and risks of medical imaging modalities to patients.

While the RPOP Module is targeted at general practitioners it is a useful reference for others in the medical community.

Moving through the Module’s three sections is simple and it’s anticipated that it will take 20 to 30 minutes to complete, including the self tests at the end of each section.

An associated PDF iconGuide for Medical Imaging with basic information on imaging modalities, risk and a dose chart for common procedures is available.

Links to other reference material can be found at the end of the RPOP module.

The information presented is of a general nature only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Acknowledgements

The RPOP Module has been developed with the input of key stakeholders, many of them directly represented by an Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) organised Project Reference Group (PRG), which also included the RPOP project. Input received from the PRG and members of the following has shaped the Module:

  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
  • Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR)
  • WA Health - WA Diagnostic Imaging Pathways (WA DIP)
  • Australian Institute of Radiography (AIR)
  • Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association (ADIA)
  • NPS MedicineWise (NPS)

Feedback has also been received via a number of the State Radiation Advisory Councils, as well as from hospitals (with major contributions from  the Alfred), universities and others. Of particular note are the efforts of the RACGP and ACRRM in forwarding the RPOP Module drafts to their members, with their feedback enabling fine tuning of the Module. Also, the pioneering work of the WA DIP is acknowledged and their efforts in medical imaging radiation safety continue to benefit the Australian community with the release of their referral guidelines as an App.