Room: AAPM ePoster Library
Purpose: While CT protocol management is essential for obtaining consistently high-quality images at reasonable radiation doses, managing system protocols across different models and vendors can be time-consuming. Master protocols are reviewed and revised regularly by radiologists, technologists, and physicists, often fulfilling regulatory and accreditation requirements. With dozens of parameters in each CT protocol, it is difficult to make sure thousands of system parameters match the standardized master protocols across an enterprise. Previously, comparisons were made manually between each system protocol and our master protocol spreadsheet.
Methods: Protocol management software was implemented to import system protocol backup files from the CT scanners at our main campus (8 scanners, 2 vendors, 7 models). For initial testing of the software, our master protocol spreadsheet for abdominal protocols was processed and imported by the software vendor. Imported system protocols were viewable via a web interface, which also allowed protocols for different models to be visually compared. Deviations between system parameters and master protocols for each system were flagged for review.
Results: In 29 abdominal protocols across 8 scanners, 346 deviations from the master protocols were found. AEC settings (reference mAs, kV modulation options, etc.) accounted for 57% of mismatches, followed by reconstruction kernel/iterative settings (22%), slice increment (9%), slice thickness (8%), detector configuration (3%), kVp (0.6%), and rotation time (0.3%).
Conclusions: Even though protocols were password-protected and lead technologists had previously worked many hours to match system protocols to master protocols, we found a number of differences between system and master protocols in this initial implementation for abdominal protocols at our main campus. As we expand to other anatomy areas and include outlying sites, we expect identifying necessary changes to the myriad of protocol parameters on each system to be simplified using the dedicated protocol management software.
Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: Ohio State University has a research agreement with Qaelum NV. N Fitousi and J Jacobs are employees of Qaelum NV.