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Radiation in Medicine: A Need for Regulatory Reform
sources. Given the open-ended nature of this question, it was surprising to see that so many answers reflected a similar concern—namely, a preoccupation with what many considered to be overregulation and the duplication of various regulations regarding the uses of ionizing radiation. A smaller number focused on the costs attached to these regulations—particularly the required paperwork. "The cost of regulation of radiation in medicine is high and the benefits are low. Radiation in medicine is over-regulated when the amount of risk to the public is considered" (AAPM). "Under the current system, we divert a tremendous amount of our limited resources to protect ourselves against ionizing radiation. Ultimately, we are less safe because monies are not available to protect ourselves against the much larger risks that affect our health" (ABNM). Relative risk between medical disciplines should be measured and considered prior to adopting rules as should relative harm to the public. Voluntary efforts need to be considered more fully. Unsuccessful regulations should be abolished, and financial analyses should be employed to determine where money is best spent (ACR). "The needless over-regulation of medicine has become cumbersome, difficult for patients, and more expensive at no benefit to the patient or to the regulating agencies beyond the apparent self-serving need to perpetuate multiple agencies with ambiguous role and scope definition, unnecessary redundancy and predictable excessive delays, and increased costs" (ARRS).
In addition to comments of this nature, others spoke of the need for a single federal agency to deal with all issues relating to ionizing radiation. "While a 'national coordinating role' such as is provided by the CRCPD is preferred, the formation of a single federal 'public health' agency would be a reasonable approach to effectively resolving the issue" (Washington). And others, still, urged caution: "Although we advocate some changes to the current system, we would caution those that propose changes beware of the 'pendulum' effect, where we go from having too much regulation to having no regulation at all" (Illinois). "The rush to correct a problem has in the past created more problems than it solved. Care needs to be taken that anecdotal data and poor science are not substituted for careful evaluation of real data and development of a sound response" (Kansas). ''We must assure that public safety is not sacrificed in lieu of cost savings" (ASRT).