Tracking Patterns of Nonadherence to Prescribed CT Protocol Parameters.
J Am Coll Radiol. 2017 Feb;14(2):224-230. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2016.08.029. Epub 2016 Dec 4.
Szczykutowicz TP1, Malkus A2, Ciano A3, Pozniak M2.
PURPOSE: Quantification of the frequency, understanding the motivation, and documentation of the changes made by CT technologists at scan time are important components of monitoring a quality CT workflow.
METHODS: CT scan acquisition data were collected from one CT scanner for a period of 1 year. The data included all relevant acquisition parameters needed to define the technical side of a CT protocol. An algorithm was created to sort these data in groups of irradiation events with the same combinations of scan acquisition parameters. For scans modified at scan time, it was hypothesized that these examinations would show up only once in the organized data. A classification scheme was developed to place each "one-off" examination into a category related to what motivated the scan-time change.
RESULTS: A total of 132,707 irradiation events were organized into 434 groups of unique scan acquisition parameters. One hundred forty-four irradiation events had acquisition parameters that showed up only once in the data. These "one-offs" were classified as follows: 25% represented rarely used protocols, 17% were due to service scans, 16% were changed for unknown and therefore undesired reasons, 15% were changed by technologists trying to adapt protocol to patient size, 12% were allowable scan-time changes, 8% of scans had tube current maxed out, and 6% of scans were changed to a higher dose mode as requested by radiologists.
CONCLUSIONS: The outcome of this study suggests many areas of needed technologist training and chances for optimizing this institution's CT protocols.