CRPA Dose and Image Working Group to Improve Radiation Safety Culture in Health Care / Le groupe de travail Dose et image de l’ACRP pour améliorer la culture de radioprotection dans les soins de santé
A year has passed by since the CRPA conference in Saskatoon and the creation of the Dose and Image (D&I) working group.
In Quebec, it is maple sugar season . . . this natural sugar with innumerable virtues. Although there is a lot of talk these days about the dangers of refined sugar, any gourmet would tell you that maple sugar has nothing to do with refined sugar. Nonetheless, we should heed the warning of Paracelsus (sometimes called the “father” of toxicology): “All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing not a poison.”
Dose to patients would be very much in line with Paracelsus’ saying, and the CRPA D&I working group could be the spokesperson. CRPA represents a Canadian network of radiation protection specialists who are accustomed to collaborating with various organizations at all levels, and several CRPA members have expertise to share with regard to dose and medical imaging.
We will take things one step at a time. The D&I working group will begin by contributing to the Bonn Call for Action issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and World Health Organization (WHO) in 2012, and we will add CRPA’s voice to the international choir of professional organizations concerned with this challenge. Last December, attendees at the IAEA International Conference on Radiation Protection in Medicine concluded that, in addition to the effective implementation of a regulatory framework, more training and awareness of radiation protection were necessary to better protect patients and health workers from unnecessary exposure to radiation due to medical procedures.
Medical ionizing radiation is the largest source of artificial radiation for the public, and its use is increasingly going beyond the traditional medical imaging department. The number of exams continues to grow. The technology is evolving, becoming more complex. These diagnostic and intervention tools help provide better care for our patients, our families, and our friends, but, as with all things, we must know how to dose.
Regarding the workers, we have progressed far beyond the era of the pioneering dentist C. Edmund Kells, who developed the dental X-ray. After 20 years of practice, he lost fingers, a hand, an arm, and eventually his life! However, there are always risks for workers from uncontrolled exposures. Work and studies are underway, standards and regulations are changing, practices need to improve, and CRPA members can help.
IAEA and WHO have proposed 10 concrete actions (see related story here), and we can help implement some of them not only in our respective institutions, but also more widely by sharing our knowledge, experiences, and questions.
Numerous International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) publications will inform our discussions, including the most recent ones: Occupational Radiological Protection in Interventional Procedures (Publication 139), Ethical Foundations of the System of Radiological Protection (Publication 138), and Diagnostic Reference Levels in Medical Imaging (Publication 135). As CRPA members, we have free access to these publications. The working group will also be looking at experiences reported in other publications and real-life examples shared among our peers.
To launch the D&I working group, our first activity will be a workshop during the 2018 CRPA conference. Please join us!