BOX 1. Sample Patient Letter
Radiation Safety Awareness
Welcome to Overlake Hospital’s Medical Imaging Department where you can expect medical excellence every day. As a part of our commitment to your safety, you are being provided this letter on Radiation Awareness. Accreditation Overlake is accredited by the American College of Radiology in computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imag- ing (MRI), nuclear medicine, and ultrasound. Accreditation is earned by organizations that undergo a rigorous onsite inspection and evaluation of equipment and facilities meet quality and safety guidelines and ensure personnel are ducated and certified in medical imaging. Today’s Exam You are scheduled for a chest x-ray today. You can expect to receive 0.1-0.3mSv of radiation for this exam. This dose is equivalent to 10 days of natural environmental radiation that you are exposed to every day. This risk is considered minimal. Radiation Dose There are many ways to measure radiation dose. For patients, the most important way to measure radiation dose is termed “effective dose,” which measures risk by assessing the long-term effects of radiation on body organs and tissue. Although there are many ways to express the quantity of radiation received, effective dose is most often expressed in milliSieverts (mSv).
Ionizing radiation is used daily in hospitals and clinics as part of x-ray, nuclear medicine, and computed tomography
(CT) diagnostic imaging procedures. These imaging procedures provide important information to your doctor about your
health and help ensure that you receive appropriate care. Physicians and technologists performing these procedures are
trained to use the minimal amount of radiation necessary.
Risk level means the approximate lifetime risk of fatal cancer for an adult as the result of radiation exposure. Risk level
is further defined as follows:
Negligible: < 1 in 1,000,000
Minimal: 1 in 1,000,000 to 1 in 100,000
Very Low: 1 in 100,000 to 1 in 10,000
Low: 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 1,000
Moderate: 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 500
If your condition has resulted in the need for frequent radiologic studies, you may wish to speak with your primary care
physician about radiation dose. It is important that all of your treating physicians have your complete imaging history.
For more information on radiation risk and dose, please see our Radiation Safety brochure available in the waiting area,
or our website at www.overlakehospital.org/radiationawareness.