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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Jamie Sheller
Jamie Sheller
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New Safety Rules Sought for Medical Radiation

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There is a new call for enhanced safety measures regarding medical radiation. This call is coming from the American Society for Radiation Oncology or Astro, the leading professional organization dedicated to radiation oncology. According to the group, the new safety measures should include establishing the nation’s first central database for the reporting of errors involving linear accelerators – machines that generate radiation. Even though serious radiation incidents are rare, some experts believe that all errors must be reported so that they can be studied and used to reduce the potential for future errors. A central clearinghouse will help in that process. Astro says that its six-point plan would improve safety and quality and reduce medical errors. In addition to a central database, the plan also includes expanded training and a stronger accreditation program. Some states don’t require licenses for technicians who operate radiotherapy machines. In 8 states, no credentials or education requirements exist for therapists who perform medical imaging other than mammograms. Astro is also seeking federal legislation requiring national standards for radiation therapy treatment teams. Uniform standard for accreditation and reporting of errors will enhance patient safety