Authorities and industry working together on medical radiation protection

BRUSSELS – 17 June 2014 – HERCA (the association of the Heads of European Radiological Protection Competent Authorities) and COCIR (the European association representing the medical imaging, electromedical and healthcare IT industry) are working together to reduce patient radiation exposure in computed tomography (CT). This work is being carried out through voluntary commitments developed by COCIR at HERCA’s initiative.

A great number of dose reduction features are now available on modern CT scanners. Manufacturers provide a variety of iterative reconstruction software algorithms, allowing for dose reduction while at the same time providing diagnostic image quality. Further features allow for dose optimisation according to patient size and the diagnosis required.

All COCIR CT manufacturers provide a display of dose metrics and export capability, allowing software programs to produce dose statistics for a scanner or a collection of scanners at a site.  Additionally, standardised features have been developed which provide the ability for institutions to set dose values which should not be exceeded for each CT protocol.  These give the user feedback when a dose is exceeded and tools for effective patient dose management and reporting.

The CT manufacturers provide specific training programs on existing and new dose reduction techniques and on the use of these product features in daily practice.  The provision of specific training curricula ensures that the CT user is well trained on dose optimisation and facilitates dose awareness in daily practice.

While dose reduction is extremely important, diagnostic image quality is just as important. For this reason, dose measurement and image quality assessment need to be done simultaneously. The CT industry is working on the design of reference phantoms for assessing Low Contrast Detectability and the associated dose level.

Sigurdur Magnusson, Chairman of HERCA, and Nicole Denjoy, COCIR Secretary General, encourage CT users to use available dose reduction features, dose management tools and CT manufacturer-provided training. These steps will help to ensure appropriate and effective use of CT imaging equipment with continued dose reduction while maintaining diagnostic image quality.

HERCA and COCIR are committed to continuing their fruitful collaboration in the field of CT dose reduction and dose management, and intend to extend this activity to other important stakeholders in the area of medical radiation protection.

Notes to the Editor:

HERCA is a voluntary association of the Radiation Protection Authorities (RPA) in Europe where they work together in order to identify common significant radiation protection issues and propose harmonization and/or practical solutions towards a common  approach for these issues, whenever possible. The goal of HERCA is to contribute to a high level of radiological protection throughout Europe. HERCA currently brings together 51 RPA from 31 European countries.

COCIR is the voice of the European Radiological, Electromedical and Healthcare IT Industry. COCIR is a non-profit trade association, founded in 1959, representing the medical technology industry in Europe. COCIR's members play a driving role in developing the future of healthcare in Europe and worldwide.
HERCA and COCIR have constructively worked together since February 2010.  As an important result of this process, HERCA regulators and COCIR with CT manufacturers underline their commitment to work together on patient dose reduction. COCIR with CT manufacturers initiated a voluntary self-commitment by 13 May 2011 and continue to progress as time goes.

For more information, contact:

Nicole Denjoy
COCIR Secretary General        
Tel: +32 (0)2 706 8961
Opens window for sending      

Kathryn Sheridan
COCIR Communications Advisor
Tel: +32 (0)496 116198    
Opens window for sending

Alexandra Schreiner
HERCA WP CT Manufacturers Chair
Radiation Protection Department
Ministry of Health, Luxembourg
Tel: +35 2 24785680
Opens window for sending   

Olvido Guzmán
HERCA Secretariat
Tel: +33 1 46 16 44 06
Opens window for sending