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PARIS - GE Healthcare has unveiled a new information system to track, report, and monitor dose from multiple manufacturers and multiple imaging devices. DoseWatch was introduced at the annual congress of the French Radiology Society (SFR), les Journées Françaises de Radiologie (JFR), and will be seen for the first time in North America at the RSNA meeting in late November.
Dosewatch was developed by SerphyDose, a start-up firm. The first pilot was installed at Strasbourg University Hospital. The product is up and running at 14 medical centers in France, and two U.S. unnamed sites are currently running the system.
Called a dose archiving and communication system (DACS), DoseWatch does not measure dose but automatically extracts data on radiation exposure for each examination and archives the information, integrating with both the PACS and RIS. Records can be reviewed and retrieved by modality, pathology, specific machine, operator, or patient. It automatically sends alerts when dose parameters exceed an established threshold. The limits can be manually set according to preferences in a radiology group, or they can be automatically set, for example, in accordance with practice guidelines for a procedure.
"It sounds so simple, but DoseWatch is a true breakthrough because it automates the collection of data on all modalities," said Antoine Jomier, who holds a new position as GE's global general manager for dose and was formerly sales and marketing leader for GE Healthcare's CT business in France. "Each time we have added a modality to the system, the radiology group has found ways to improve procedures and performance."
Building on the adage that you cannot manage what you cannot measure, Jomier said DoseWatch provides a tool for a center to establish its baseline performance for radiation exposure levels, identify variations in that performance, then optimize procedures and protocols. The patient exposure for each examination is calculated by DoseWatch based on variables extracted from the pixels and the protocols used. This capability allows the software to calculate dose from archived images to build a historical database.
GE offers this functionality as an upgrade option. The software is installed directly within a hospital's information system architecture, often as a virtual machine. The product can be purchased, or a hospital can subscribe to the service.
GE is also building a service offering for customer training and advising on performance optimization. At Saturday's JFR sponsored symposium, Jomier showed how DoseWatch helped one radiology group progressively lower dose by optimizing protocols. Once the performance had reached a plateau, the group implemented GE's adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASIR) algorithm for CT data reconstruction, and dose levels fell considerably.
A priority is reinforcing the software development team to accelerate development of future DoseWatch features. "We already have ideas and we want to make the most of the start-up culture at SerphyDose while backing it with the power of the GE organization," Jomier noted.