According to a report by the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation in 2000, patients are exposed to about 200 times more ionizing radiation than medical workers. In some countries, this figure can be nearly 500 times.
Dr. Rehani says, "We also have projects in Member States finding out how much radiation patients are getting in different imaging procedures."
Medical practitioners in the 82 member states where studies are now being carried out, are then advised of how to reduce patient radiation doses without compromising diagnostic information or image quality.
In another 10 years, under the aims of the project, patients who wish to monitor themselves, could be able to check the amount of radiation they have been exposed to, not only through the course of their current examination, but over a lifetime.
Under Dr. Rehani's leadership, a team of professionals with significant expertise in radiation dose management and manufacturers will be developing methodology for a Smart Card project. The card would utilise a microchip carrying information about the radiation doses a patient receives. "We don't intend to make it obligatory. It will be a voluntary system. So it will take many years before it is widespread," says Dr. Rehani.
The team will have its first meeting early in 2009. Over the course of the next 3 years, they will focus on the minimum radiation quantities to be measured, guidelines, norms, disclaimers and security issues related to the use of the card. They will also liaise with companies that now produce chip cards that contain medical information, to see how radiation dosages can be measured and included on the current cards that are becoming available for medical records.
Although the Smart Card project is in its inf
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International Atomic Energy Agency