At the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the Departments of Radiology and Medical Physics have been working together with the CT Technologists to refine CT imaging protocols in an effort to reduce dose, enable the acquisition of more clinically useful images, and reduce the frequency of repeat scans. With the help of the largest medical physics department in the world, UW protocols have been modified so we not only image gently, but we also image well.
An added feature of the UW effort is that we have partnered with GE Healthcare. Collaboration with the GE scientists and engineers has allowed us to gain greater insight into and take full advantage of the unique capabilities of each GE CT scanner platform. With the evolution of this partnership, the UW CT protocols have been made available to current and future GE CT users. This has the potential to save time and resources for imaging services, relying on GE scanners. Studies have shown that the annual cost of reviewing and optimizing just 30 protocols can exceed $150,000.1. Additionally, the UW protocols are annually reviewed and updated with input from Radiologists, Physicists, and Technologists, fulfilling the Joint Commission requirement for annual CT protocol review.
The current release of UW protocols covers nearly all clinical indications for CT imaging including neuro, MSK, chest, body, vascular, and pediatric. By adjusting the type, amount, and timing of oral and intravenous contrast as well as modifying patient positioning, and scan and reconstruction parameters, each protocol is optimized to enhance the potential for accurate diagnosis of any suspect clinical condition. With the pending release of GE’s cloud-based protocol manager tool, we believe these protocols can serve the entire imaging community, saving on cost, creating a standardized imaging and interpretation environment, and ultimately providing patients with a better imaging experience.