Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City now enables patients and physicians to access radiation histories and the cumulative radiation a patient has received.

The information comes from approximately 220,000 higher-dose procedures and imaging exams that the 22-hospital, 185-clinic delivery system conducts each year, starting with exams from the last quarter of 2012. The information is available to consumers via Intermountain’s patient Web portal, and to physicians and other clinicians via the electronic health records system. Both sites also offer educational materials on the benefits and risks of diagnostic imaging.

Physicians knowing patients’ cumulative radiation exposure can help them determine the most appropriate imaging tests, according to Intermountain. Sometimes, for instance, equivalent information can be obtained with a test that does not use radiation, such as ultrasound and MRI scans. Such information is especially useful when treating children with certain chronic health conditions who often have diagnostic imaging tests, says Keith White, M.D., medical director of imaging services.

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