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To Reduce Patients' Radiation Exposure, North Shore-LIJ Health System to Buy 15 GE Low-Dose CT Scanners

June 21, 2012

North Shore-LIJ President & CEO Michael Dowling, (right), from right:GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt; Steve Gray, and John Pellerito, MD.

LAKE SUCCESS, NY -- In the interest of advancing patient safety and improving care, the North Shore-LIJ Health System today announced with GE Healthcare the $12 million purchase of 15 GE Low-Dose CT Scanners that will be installed at 10 locations throughout the New York area over the next year.

The GE purchase is part of a three-year,  $50 million investment  by North Shore-LIJ to replace or update all of its conventional diagnostic imaging systems with scanners that deliver lower levels of radiation while also providing high-quality diagnostic images. In addition to the new hardware, North Shore-LIJ is installing GE's first-of-its-kind monitoring software, called DoseWatch, which tracks how much radiation is emitted by each CT, creating a database that will enhance the ability to monitor levels of emission and enable radiologists to adjust their practices based on the latest clinical evidence.

"As one of the first health systems in the country to replace or upgrade all of its diagnostic imaging equipment with low-dose technology, North Shore-LIJ is setting a new, higher standard for patient safety,” North Shore-LIJ President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Dowling said today at a news conference with GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt at the health system’s Center for Advanced Medicine in Lake Success, NY, home to its Goldman Diagnostic Imaging Center. "By collaborating with GE and adopting this innovative approach to medical imaging, we will have more information and tools to ensure that patients receive the latest, most effective care possible."

“GE has provided low dose solutions for over 30 years, and the GE Blueprint for low dose furthers our healthymagination vision of improving the cost, quality and access of healthcare. We are pleased to recognize North Shore-LIJ’s vision and efforts already on this front,” said Mr. Immelt.

In 2010, North Shore-LIJ Imaging Services initiated a review of the diagnostic imaging equipment housed at 14 hospitals and six outpatient facilities throughout New York City and Long Island. This resulted in the development of a three-year plan to upgrade or replace $50 million in equipment with lose-dose technology. A year later in August 2011, The Joint Commission issued a sentinel alert about the radiation risks of diagnostic imaging. “By installing new imaging technology that uses lower radiation doses for CT scans, the North Shore-LIJ Health System is addressing an important factor that can contribute to excess radiation dosing,” said Mark R. Chassin, MD, president of The Joint Commission. “Eliminating exposure to avoidable radiation requires a comprehensive patient safety program that includes education for staff and patients about the potential dangers of diagnostic radiation and dosing in imaging departments. We salute North Shore-LIJ for its attention to these risks. Safely adopting new technology and making sure it operates appropriately and delivers lower doses of radiation are very positive steps toward reducing the radiation risks associated with diagnostic imaging.” To see a full statement from Dr. Chassin re: North Shore-LIJ’s initiative

With the help of radiology leaders from across the health system, all of North Shore-LIJ’s imaging facilities are completing the American College of Radiology’s (ACR) accreditation process. They also achieved 100 percent compliance with the ACR’s “Image Wisely” and “Image Gently” pledges, whereby all staff promised to reduce radiation doses to the lowest effective level for all patients and to only utilize radiation when no clinically appropriate alternative exists, which The Joint Commission’s Dr. Chassin says is a key component of a safe imaging program.

The switch to low-dose CTs is good news for patients like Barbara Greenberg of Roslyn, NY, an 18-year ovarian cancer survivor. Until this year, she underwent at least one annual CT scan to ensure that her cancer had not reappeared. First diagnosed in 1994 and treated successfully at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, NY, Ms. Greenberg said her physician, John Lovecchio, MD, chief of gynecological-oncology at North Shore-LIJ, advised her earlier this year to discontinue the annual screening. “As you start to gain more knowledge about cancer, you pay more attention to potential risks like CT scans,” said Ms. Greenberg, who has become active in fundraising for cancer research since the onset of her illness.

Working toward system-wide, low-dose diagnostic capabilities, GE Healthcare and North Shore-LIJ will pursue extensive clinical and technical education, process and data analysis improvements, and cutting-edge CT technologies, including:  

  • Adaptive Statistical Iterative Reconstruction (ASiR*^), an advanced reconstruction technique that reduces image noise for outstanding diagnostic performance at lower dose;
  • Veo*^, the world’s first model-based iterative reconstruction product offering high-quality images at lower doses in CT imaging; and
  • DoseWatch*, a monitoring tool providing additional assistance to providers to measure, track and optimize patient dose over time, with multi-modality and multi-manufacturer adaptability.

As part of the upcoming purchase, North Shore-LIJ will install 15 high-definition, low-dose CTs at 10 facilities: Forest Hills Hospital (two CTs), Glen Cove Hospital, Huntington Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center (three CTs) in New Hyde Park, NY, North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset (two CTs), NY, Plainview Hospital, Staten Island University Hospital’s North and South sites, Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, NY, Center for Advanced Medicine in Lake Success, NY, and Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, NY.

North Shore-LIJ and GE have partnered together previously on other innovative initiatives, including the 2002 development of North Shore-LIJ’s corporate university, called the Center for Learning and Innovation in Lake Success, NY, which was modeled after the GE Leadership Institute in Crotonville, NY. During the first three years of the program, GE Medical Systems trained and mentored North Shore-LIJ staff in valuable process improvement techniques and change management skills, including Six Sigma methodology.

About North Shore-LIJ Health System
The nation's second-largest, non-profit, secular healthcare system, North Shore-LIJ delivers world-class clinical care throughout the New York metropolitan area, pioneering research at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and a visionary approach to medical education, highlighted by the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. North Shore-LIJ cares for people at every stage of life at 15 hospitals, long-term care facilities and more than 250 ambulatory care centers throughout the region. North Shore-LIJ’s owned hospitals and long-term care facilities house about 5,467 beds, employ more than 10,000 nurses and have affiliations with more than 9,000 physicians. With a workforce of more than 43,000, North Shore-LIJ is the largest employer on Long Island and the third-largest private employer in New York City.  For more information, go to www.northshorelij.com.

* Trademark of General Electric Company

^ In clinical practice, the use of ASiR or Veo may reduce CT patient dose depending on the clinical task, patient size, anatomical location and clinical practice. A consultation with a radiologist and a physicist should be made to determine the appropriate dose to obtain diagnostic image quality for the particular clinical task.
† Statistics from RadiologyInfo.org. 
 

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    bolt@nshs.edu
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