Dempsey Hospital Makes Progress Reducing Double CT Scans

UConn’s John Dempsey Hospital has drastically reduced the frequency of “combination” CT scans of patients’ chests and abdomens, as federal regulators have clamped down on the practice, which carries a risk of excess radiation. New data provided by Dr. Douglas Fellows, chair of radiology at the UConn Health Center, shows that the hospital has reduced the rate of double scans of the chest to below 1 percent, and the rate of combination abdominal scans to 23 percent for Medicare patients, the population that federal regulators track. A 2011 story by C-HIT  disclosed that Dempsey’s double-scan rate was the highest in the state and far exceeded the national average, with 48 percent of all patients who received chest scans subjected to combination scans—nearly 10 times the national average—and more than 72 percent who received abdominal scans getting double procedures. That data was from 2008. Fellows said the hospital has made a concerted effort in the last two years to crack down on double scans, by educating emergency department personnel, physicians in other parts of the hospital, and community doctors who order the scans.