Smart Card

Medical imaging is a well-accepted, valuable clinical tool when appropriately utilized. In recent years, individual patient exposure from radiological procedures using ionizing radiation has been increasing, including procedures in children, in part due to multiple procedures resulting in cumulative effective dose estimations exceeding 50-100 mSv in some cases. This creates increased responsibility of authorities, manufacturers and health professionals to develop and implement suitable solutions. One such solution is the IAEA Smart Card/SmartRadTrack project, the major purpose of which is tracking of patient exposure history.

The smart card does not have dose information just as credit card has no cash or credit. The smart card represents a means by which one can access information on servers. The project is focused on tracking of individual patient’s radiological procedures and dose rather than tracking of doses of group of patients.

Although the scope of the Smart Card project that was initiated by the IAEA in 2006 was comprehensive, it tended to give a narrow impression. Thus, the new name Smart Card/SmartRadTrack was adopted. The scope of patient radiation exposure tracking is to cover all imaging modalities which use ionizing radiation for interventional procedures and radiographic, fluoroscopic, computed tomography (CT), and nuclear diagnostic examinations. The scope also includes radiation dose recording, reporting and tracking.

The project aims to:

  • Develop methodologies to track patient’s radiation exposure history, be it the number of radiological procedures and/or radiation dose as appropriate; 
  • Help Member States establish policies and mechanisms for tracking indices of radiation exposure for diagnostic examinations and interventional procedures involving ionizing radiation to individual patients; 
  • Develop guidance on use of tracking for strengthening the process of justification and optimization of protection; 
  • Cooperate with organizations associated with manufacturers to aid in developing hardware and software for tracking of procedures and individual patients’ radiation dose indices; 
  • Promote development of international standards for tracking radiological examinations and procedures across different countries; 
  • Make provisions in safety standards to require tracking of radiological examinations and procedures. 

In view of the interest of a number of organizations in patient protection, the IAEA decided to develop a joint position statement in cooperation with organizations and experts in imaging and clinical patient care. There are also new requirements in International and European Basic Safety Standards that indicate consideration of previous imaging procedures to fulfill justification.

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