Joint Commission Updates Sentinel Event Alert, Issue 47 – Radiation Risks of Diagnostic Imaging

PUBLISHED: Jun 1, 2017
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Medical Office

In September 2011 The Joint Commission (TJC) issued a Sentinel Event Alert on the radiation risks associated with diagnostic imaging. The alert underscored the value and effectiveness of diagnostic radiation but also highlighted the risks associated with repeated dosing and the cumulative effect of multiple radiation doses over time. Additionally, the alert reviewed:

  • The challenge of providers ordering diagnostic tests involving radiation without any knowledge of when a patient’s last exposure to radiation was or how much total radiation a patient has received.
  • The value of diagnostic radiation.
  • The lack of agreement on how much radiation is too much or if there may be timeframes between radiation exposures that make it safer.
  • The risks associated with using insufficient radiation which can increase misdiagnosis/delay treatments.
  • The inherent risks associated with ionizing radiology.

TJC recently updated this Sentinel Event Alert, providing new links and updated references. A link to the updated alert is provided in the references below. Also included with today’s notice are example polices related to diagnostic imaging safety.

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