Smartcard Helps Communicate Radiation Risks

April 3, 2012

The radiology department at the University of Colorado in Denver has developed pocket-sized reference card that provides the effective doses and radiation risks of common adult radiologic exams.

The radiology department at the University of Colorado in Denver has developed pocket-sized reference card that provides the effective doses and radiation risks of common adult radiologic exams.

The Adult Dose-Risk Smartcard aims to help referring physicians and patients make more informed decisions about related risks of undergoing or refusing to undergo common radiological examinations. A report of the smartcard was published in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

The smartcard allows the patients to compare doses from various radiologic exams to background radiation, and it provides information on risks of fatal radiation-induced cancer, as last reported by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

The new tool may be useful in helping patients make decisions, but it does have its drawbacks.

“We recognize that there may be significant age-dependent and gender-dependent variations in both radiation dose and risk estimates,” said R. Edward Hendrick, PhD, lead author of the article. “The Adult Dose-Risk Smartcard does not attempt to incorporate all those variations, but instead to communicate a representative estimate of effective doses and radiations to adults from various radiologic procedures.”