Safe Imaging

X-rays and CT (computed tomography) scans are useful diagnostic tools that use radiation to view bone and tissue inside the body.  However, repeated exposure to radiation during a person’s life (cumulative exposure) can put them at higher risk for cancer.

CT scans are responsible for more than 40% of the cumulative diagnostic radiation exposures to patients. Medicare radiography costs are over $14 billion dollars a year and it is estimated that 20-50% of the scans are unnecessary.

Although there are times when a CT scan is the best tool to diagnose a medical condition, there are ways to minimize the patient’s exposure to radiation.  The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA)  – through the LEAPT initiative  –   is asking participating hospitals to reduce the unnecessary use of CT scans by 10% by December 9, 2014.


Dose Optimization:

Before using a CT scan, medical staff will be asked to consider alternatives.  If they decide a CT scan is necessary, the dose should be adjusted for the size of the patient, including smaller doses for children.

Reduce Unnecessary Exposure Through Right Order, Right Scan:

Implement protocols, procedures, algorithms, and guidelines to assist your hospital staff and clinicians make safer imaging choices for children.

Please see the tools below.WSHA will support their efforts by providing training, education, tools and patient education materials as well as data.

Webcasts and Safe Tables - Click on topic for presentation materials

Safe Table July 8 100k Children Kick off Event

Safe Table Webcast - Drive Quality and Promote Safe Imaging: Measures, Tools, and Resources
August 21, 2014 

Safe Table Webcast - Strategies: Ultrasound for Appendicitis and Dose Optimization
September 15, 2014 

Safe Table Webcast - Education: Leading Edge Practices for Technologists, Patients, and Families
October 23, 2014  

Safe Table Webcast  - Pediatric Head Trauma: When to Image

November 14, 2014

Safe Table Webcast  - Understanding Medical Radiation Exposure:What We Know and What We Don’t

January 28, 2015

Measuring Results

Hospitals will measure the results of their efforts by comparing the number of high radiation dose CT scans over 10,000 patient days to the total number of inpatient emergency department scans.


Additional Resources

Useful Links

Safe Table Presentations


Karen Lautermilch