What Your Techs Need to Know about Digital Radiography

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Dennis-BowmanBy Dennis Bowman

June 2013—At this year’s Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, I will be presenting “What Every Administrator Needs Their Techs to Know about Digital Radiography.” To give you an idea of what I’ll be talking about in my presentation and what you’ll be taking away from it, I have written this “sneak peak” article.

I have been a “shooting” radiographer for 35 years, and for the past 20+ years have been the Clinical Instructor at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP), where we have been a digital department since 2002.  I have been speaking nationally on the subject of digital radiography since 2006 and as a lecturer for MTMI since 2009.   Quite often I present a condensed “highlight” version of that 8 hour MTMI talk for educators, radiographers, and students, and my presentation at the 2013 AHRA Annual Meeting is a very special adaptation of that “highlight” talk.

My lectures are markedly different than all of the current talks being given at this time on digital radiography.  The others are all technically oriented on how the readers, detectors, and computers create the image. My talk is solely focused on how to actually use the equipment easily and correctly.

The topics I will cover are the “new” digital optimum kVs and the mAs that goes along with them.  Since decreasing the radiation dose is so important, I will establish how dose and mAs directly correlate with each other, and how by increasing the kV and dropping the mAs you can always decrease the radiation dose. These new techniques decrease the dose by 33% but are not in use at most facilities in the country.  I will also discuss the Exposure Index (EI) number systems currently used by the different vendors, how well they work, and why every radiographer must use them, as well as how easy it is to overexpose and still have a diagnostic image.  This will lead directly into how to properly critique a digital image using these EI numbers, magnification modes, Level and Windowing, and larger “monitors”.

In addition, I will talk about my universal CR and DR technique charts that can be used in every radiology department with any manufacturer.  Also presented will be the importance of using a grid on AP chests and the amazing versatility of the different Ferlic Filters for x-table lateral hips, Swimmers views, lateral C-spines, and lateral L-spines.  I will also address the legal issues that concern radiographers and radiologists, including properly marking an image, reprocessing images with different algorithms, using too much technique, and shuttering (post process collimation).  I will conclude with two incredible experiments on scatter and off focus radiation that show how much radiation occurs during AP and PA chest x-rays.

My entire presentation is set up to further educate the directors, managers, and supervisors concerning how much their staff still needs to know about digital radiography, regardless of how long they have been using their digital equipment.  I believe almost every facility in the U.S. is using more dose than is needed and many don’t even know their staff is doing things to the image that are possibly unlawful.

If you download the presentation on the AHRA website before the conference, you will see that there are two versions of the talk.  One is for the administrators who will attend the presentation and the other is for your radiographers.  This will be discussed in detail in Minneapolis.

Last year I created Digital Radiography Solutions so I could communicate to radiographers, managers, educators, and students that all the correct information is now readily available.  If you would like to learn more about me, please go to my website at: www.digitalradiographysolutions.com

Dennis’ presentation will take place at 2:30PM on Sunday, July 28 at the 2013 AHRA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN. Click here to register.

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