Nuance Communications has announced an agreement with Radimetrics to automate software on the reporting of radiology doses.
A leader in clinical-understanding software, Nuance will integrate its PowerScribe 360 Reporting with Radimetrics' eXposure system, which tracks the amount of radiation down to the level present in each organ of the body. Physicians, radiologists, clinical physicists and safety officers use Radimetrics' software.
Radimetrics is a developer of radiation dose monitoring and management software for hospitals and imaging centers.
eXposure is able to take information from a test such as a computed tomography (CT) scan and provide an assessment of the patient dose, Gregory Couch, CEO of Radimetrics, told eWEEK.
Radiologists will be able to report dosages using Nuance's PowerScribe platform, which allows clinicians to manage documentation in their workflow using speech.
Nuance and Radimetrics announced their agreement June 7.
As Senate Bill 1237 takes effect July 1 in California, medical facilities that perform CT scans will be required to include the radiation dose in patients' radiology reports. Nuance and Radimetrics have integrated their platforms to allow the health care industry to meet this requirement.
By July 1, phase one of the California law will take effect, followed by phase two next year at this time, Couch noted.
By integrating their platforms, Nuance and Radimetrics aim to eliminate errors that occur when radiation doses are input manually. Without the software, radiologists may erroneously report the amount of radiation as they take into account values documented in the legislation, particularly in California, said Couch.
The software allows radiologists to provide a context and estimate of actual patient dose, said Couch. "A typical exam could require a radiologist to dictate 10-20 values into the report, and that's a complete waste of time," said Couch.
PowerScribe automatically populates this dose data into a patient's radiology report, Barbara Dumery, director of diagnostics solutions marketing at Nuance, told eWEEK.
Macros and templates allow radiologists to customize the amount of radiation that needs to be reported, depending on the type of procedure, said Dumery.
For instance, a CT scan would require some radiation to be reported compared with an ultrasound, which does not require radiation to be reported, she said.
When the dose information is transferred from Radimetrics eXposure application to Nuance's PowerScribe, a template customizes it for presentation in a radiologist's report, said Couch.
"When the different systems start talking to each other, that's when the staff and patients really start to benefit," said Couch.
With the software from Nuance and Radimetrics integrated, radiologists could be able to standardize their dosage reporting process, he said.
This integration will also give the patient a better understanding of the radiation they've been exposed to, according to Dumery.
"Right now, there's not a lot of information that's normalized and understood by patients to say 'what does this value mean and how may it vary depending on the type of scan I've had and the type of facility,'" said Dumery.
"If you go somewhere for one exam, you can get five times the dose, depending on where you go," added Couch. "There's a huge need to standardize practices in North America, and this is a good step in the right directionmaking people aware."
These tools could help radiologists and scientists understand the effects of radiation on causing cancer, Couch suggested.
"Just the fact that we're tracking this will make it easier for us to improve our knowledge and understanding of what we need to do to keep patients safe."