SIIM 2015: Easing the burden of CT protocol monitoring

National Harbor, Md.—Manually maintaining and updating CT scan protocols can be a Herculean task, with protocols extracted in Excel or XML format that can run 25,000 lines long. A tool to help parse these protocols would be a boon to many providers, and that’s just what a group from the University of Pennsylvania set out to create.

Presenting at the annual meeting of the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM), Ramez R. Hanna, MD, from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, showcased a web-based CT protocol monitoring system that allows radiologists, physicists, and technologists an easier way to compare protocols for an institution’s CT scanners. Current scanner settings can be compared against previously programmed settings or between scanners, and logged protocols can be correlated to dose indices.

“Radiologists will be able to directly assess how CT parameters affect scan quality,” said Hanna.

The software allows the user to upload protocol XML source files into a database, and browse them in an easy to read interface that allows the user to isolate protocols by body region. The software is linked to RADIANCE, an open-source software for CT dose monitoring.  

“Effectively what this gives us is the average CT indices tracked per protocol and you can see how that changes over time,” said Hanna.

Hanna said he and his colleagues are currently piloting the protocol monitoring system in the clinical environment, and hope to expand the software to be compatible with Excel formats in addition to XML and also be able to parse protocols from a variety of vendors.