HealthDay News – Technologists have better knowledge about the risks associated with medical imaging  than referring physicians, according to a study published online June 22 in the Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences.

Breanne Irving, MBBS, from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, and colleagues examined knowledge of medical imaging examination radiation dose levels and potential risk among referring physicians, imaging technologists, and radiologists. Three hundred eight surveys were completed.

The researchers found that the majority of respondents correctly believed that there was a risk for cancer associated with abdominal-pelvic computed tomography (CT) scan (73%, 97%, and 76% of physicians, radiologists, and technologists, respectively). 

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Eighteen, 28%, and 22% of physicians, radiologists, and technologists, respectively, selected the most appropriate estimate of abdominal-pelvic CT dose in terms of chest X-ray equivalents; this finding was in accordance with other studies. The likelihood of selecting the correct dose was higher for physicians and technologists who use CT. 

Most respondents felt that pregnant patients should always be informed about risks associated with radiation dose (91% of physicians and 100% of both technologists and radiologists). As age increased, the frequency of discussing risk decreased; technologists were more likely to discuss risk, regardless of age.

“Radiologists and technologists generally showed better knowledge than referring physicians,” the authors write. “Among physicians and technologists, knowledge was better in those who use CT than those who do not.”

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Irving B, Leswick DA, Fladeland D, Lim HJ, Bryce R. Knowing the Enemy: Health Care Provider Knowledge of Computed Tomography Radiation Dose and Associated Risks. J Med Imaging and Radiation Sci. Published online ahead of print June 23, 2016. doi:10.1016/j.jmir.2016.05.003