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The Image Gently Alliance, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), AANS/CNS Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery and allied medical organizations have launched the “Think A-Head” campaign to help providers appropriately obtain and perform computed tomography (CT) scans in children with minor head injuries. The effort will also equip providers and parents with resources to help them communicate effectively when CT scans may (or may not) be the best option to gain proper diagnosis.

The “Think A-Head” campaign provides tools and resources to:

  • Help providers ensure ordering patterns comply with latest evidence-based medical guidelines
  • Help providers explain to parents/caregivers why an imaging scan is (or is not) necessary
  • Help parents ask questions to better inform decision making if their child is prescribed a head CT scan
  • Help imaging professionals use appropriate exam radiation dose

“This collaboration is a tremendous opportunity to ensure that providers have the latest information on which to base their medical decisions, that parents can take an active, informed role in advocating for their child’s health care, and that children receive the most appropriate care for their medical situation,” said Donald Frush, MD, chair of the Image Gently Alliance and Image Gently liaison to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Physicians – If kids hurt their heads, help families make informed decisions:

“Children requiring emergency care have unique needs. Providers must quickly consider the benefit of scans versus the potential risk, the wishes of the parents and severity of injury. This campaign helps us provide more readily available resources to help emergency providers balance and communicate these factors and provide timely and appropriate care,” said Madeline M. Joseph, MD, FACEP, chair of the American College of Emergency Physicians Pediatric Emergency Medicine Committee.

Parents – Be your child’s advocate: Ask these questions if your child is prescribed a head CT scan:

“CT scans are a powerful tool to speed diagnosis of potentially life-threatening conditions, but not every situation calls for a CT scan. The tools available through this campaign help doctors and patients communicate the best course of action for a child’s condition and work together to ensure each child gets the best possible care,” said Charles Macias, MD MPH, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Emergency Medicine.

Imaging Providers – When performing imaging CT exams:

“CT technologists are on the front lines of patient care and play a crucial role in making sure all patients receive the best care possible,” said Mike Latimer, M.S.R.S., R.T.(R), president of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. “The Think A-Head campaign adds to the profession’s body of knowledge and offers significant resources to further improve patient care.”

“Medical physicists are key to ensuring that imaging equipment, especially CT, is installed and operates properly so that the appropriate dose can be delivered to ensure quality images are delivered to enable physicians to make the right diagnosis. This is important when imaging children. AAPM remains a firm supporter of the Image Gently campaign and believes that “Think A-Head” campaign will make a difference in ensuring quality medical care for all patients especially children,” stated President-elect Melissa Martin, FAAPM, FACR, FACMP.

Diagnostic Imaging Services has been a proud participant in the Image Gently and Image Wisely Alliances for nearly six years, working to perform the safest CT scans possible. Part of this work was the installation of ultra-low dose CT systems in our Metairie and Covington locations. Specifically in diagnostic situations involving children and minors, or  with people who undergo multiple CT scans over their lifetime (due to conditions such as Crohn’s disease or a cancer diagnosis), DIS implemented protocols and procedures to provide environments conducive to maximizing safety for people who have a CT study.

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