Increasing Medical Radiation

There has been a dramatic increase in the use of advanced diagnostic imaging and the associated medical radiation received by patients. From 1996-2010, CT examinations increased from 52 per 1000 enrollees in 1996 to 149 per 1000 in 2010, with a doubling of patients who received high (>20-50 mSv) and very high (>50 mSv) annual radiation exposure (Smith-Bindman 2012).

However, it has been demonstrated that if you present costs or estimated radiation dose/history to physicians at the time of ordering, it results in fewer tests overall and also orders for tests which have lower cost and radiation (Schilling 2009; Pandharipande 2013; Stein 2010).

Medical radiation cost and effects

IllumiCare uses a patent-pending method to estimate each patient’s historical radiation exposure (based on data captured by IllumiCare for the current and prior admissions).  We present that data to clinicians, along with the probability of cancer associated with that amount of medical radiation and the costs and historical test library.  In the Medication Smart Ribbon there is:

We present costs (not hospital charges) for all radiology studies during the current admission.
Displays radiology tests in the current admission ordered by cost per test, with the date of the most recent three studies.
IllumiCare estimates the effective dose of radiation for each study (during the current and prior admissions) and then presents to clinicians (in mSv) total medical radiation.
What does exposing a patient to 120 mSv mean?  IllumiCare translates radiation effective dose into real-world consequences by computing the probabilty of cancer associated with that medical radiation exposure.  This cancer risk is lifelong – it never subsides.  By providing clinicians with this level of transparency, they can make more appropriate decisions about future radiological tests.

IllumiCare never tells a physician, “Don’t order this test.”  We bring transparency of costs and potential patient harm, so that physicians can make the best decision for their patient.


Speak with a Decision Transparency specialist. We’d love to tell you about how it works, how it is implemented or how much it costs.

(205) 578-1738

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