Teamwork is a driving force in creating a patient safe environment

November 18, 2019

Teamwork is key in ensuring patient safety and minimizing the dangers of ionizing radiation. This is the outcome of a talk at ECR 2017 between radiology professionals. According to Shane Foley, PhD, a radiographer and an assistant professor and lecturer at University College Dublin School of Medicine in Ireland, “every person has to take up its responsibility, it’s not just down to one individual or responsible person”. Qaelum agrees completely with this point of view.

Medical professionals in radiology departments should always consider patient safety in the first place. The radiation dose that patients receive has to be as low as reasonable achievable (ALARA) to provide the best possible patient outcome. To make this possible, a smooth collaboration between the diverse medical professionals is needed. Because not only a radiologist is involved in medical imaging, but also a medical physicist, a radiographer, the general practitioner… However, reaching teamwork is a process where various aspects have to be taken into account.

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Communication about and justification of procedures are aspects that play a prominent role in taking the right decisions altogether. However, not all medical professionals are in direct contact with each other, which is why clear and easy-manageable tools are needed to facilitate the communication and justification process. In our DOSE solution, we take up this role as facilitator and provide many radiology departments with this necessary tool.

Teamwork is also of great importance to tackle human or technological mistakes. It is perfectly possible that one radiologist applies more dose than others for the same examination, without anyone knowing. Issues as using a wrong protocol for a scan, or the fact that a certain scanner provides systematically more radiation dose than necessary, should be noticed and tackled as well. Nevertheless, a tool for profound data-analysis to be able to gain the necessary insights is required to solve these problems. Our DOSE solution can be of great help to track these issues in order to provide extra training to whoever it needs, or to know which scanner’s parameters should be adapted.

We believe that making the right decisions is only possible through working intensively together, which is why teamwork is at the foreground in our solutions. For all the diverse roles in the radiology department, we provide interfaces that are adapted to the individual’s needs, but make it possible at the same time to exchange information between each other. For example, a radiologist can find a live dashboard where he can follow-up on all the last examinations closely, and where he can provide comments directly if an abnormality is visible.

All medical professionals should take up their moral responsibility to provide high-level care to patients. Working closely together will minimize communicational misunderstandings and human or technological mistakes, which will contribute to the safest patient solution. That’s what we also believe at Qaelum, and that is how we develop our tools for your radiology department!

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