French agencies issue guide to ionizing radiation

Two French government agencies have jointly published a guide for the use of ionizing radiation in diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine, and radiotherapy treatments. The guide includes recommendations, tools, and programs designed to safeguard patients.

La Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) and the l'Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) developed the guide with contributions and input from more than 800 physicians and medical professionals, including radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists, dosimetrists, radiographers, and dentists.

Different regimens of patient care involving diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine, and radiotherapy treatments were identified, and priority directions were developed for each.

Twenty programs were specifically developed to improve patient care and safety. They encompass radiation protection for various applications and best practice utilization of ionizing radiation. Quality assurance and safety recommendations also are included, as well as methods and procedures to analyze adverse events. Step-by-step recommendations for communicating the risks of being exposed to ionizing radiation in a medical procedure also were developed.

When integrated into daily practice, the programs can be used to help prepare healthcare facilities for certification, professional accreditation, and continuing professional development.

Both the Société Française de Radiologie (SFR) and the Société Française de Médecine Nucléaire et d'Imagerie Moléculaire (SFMN) participated in developing the guide and endorsed it.

The French health authority and the nuclear safety authority will be publishing solutions for patient safety on the basis of analysis of existing data and adverse events to facilitate monitoring of patients.

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