purposes. Their ultimate goals are to provide higher quality clinical management of the patient and to ensure that reasonable steps are taken to keep the exposures as low as possible without compromising diagnostic efficacy.
Workshop participants discussed four goals of tracking radiation exposure from medical diagnostic procedures: justification, optimization, individual risk assessment, and research purposes. Many workshop participants emphasized that a primary motivator for tracking exposures was to implement and maintain dose reduction strategies through optimization and justification with the ultimate goal of improving care. These participants reiterated that such strategies ought to be adopted by all facilities that perform diagnostic imaging, including hospitals and imaging centers, as well as free-standing private physician, dental, and chiropractor practices. Several workshop participants also noted that although it would be desirable to have a national registry that tracks radiation exposures from medical diagnostic procedures, such a national effort is not likely to be implemented in the near future for many reasons including the following: lack of sharing of medical information across different health care facilities, lack of a unique patient identifier and integrated medical records, non-automated dose information collection processes, and data protection and patient privacy issues.
It is hoped that this workshop report will be a valuable testimony to the questions other groups will have to face, and the consensus they will have to achieve, if radiation exposure tracking is to become a reality institutionally or nationally in the future.