St James’s Hospital, the largest hospital in Ireland, has implemented an electronic support system into its Cerner Millennium electronic patient record (EPR) to reduce patient exposure to radiation.

The Dublin based hospital collaborated with clinical software vendor, Cerner, to design a decision support system within the patients’ EPR to help reduce the number of unnecessary CT pulmonary angiogram scans (CTPA), which can produce harmful radiation levels.

The new system incorporates a checklist based on the Wells criteria, a medical calculation which is traditionally completed manually, to determine the appropriateness of a CTPA scan.

The system then issues an alert within the hospital’s Cerner Discern Advisor clinical decision support solution to prompt doctors to complete the checklist before they can order a CTPA scan for any patient.

Dr Mary Keogan, director of radiology at St James’s, said: “Advances in medical technology are only beneficial to the patient when used appropriately.

“By using these unique decision-support features within our Cerner Millennium electronic patient record, our aim us to ensure our patients are receiving appropriate care, and to reduce the radiation exposure and expense associated with potentially unnecessary procedures.”

The 963 bed hospital has used Cerner Millennium software to automate radiology processes since 2006.

According to Cerner, the solutions have improved radiologist’s overall productivity by 12% by decreasing the amount of time it takes for radiologists to access images. The solutions have also meant that films are no longer lost and that x-rays are delivered within hours.

Amanda Green, managing director of Cerner in Ireland, said: “By weeding out unnecessary CTPA scans, the decision-support feature also could help decrease wait times for all patients needing access to available CT scanning services offered by St James’s.”