Mining stacks of data

All of the interventional radiology (IR) labs at work are capable of spitting out a report that tells about the amount of radiation used in a procedure. Unfortunately, none of them are capable of sending that report to the PACS system with the exception of the newest units.

That means a valuable source of patient radiation dose information usually ends up archived away on optical disk somewhere. Good archiving, lousy search capabilities.

About a year ago we decided to start collecting the dose info so we could find out about the radiation doses patients were getting from IR procedures. The techs were educated on what information the dose reports provided, and we asked them to start printing out the dose summary sheets, which they've been doing for the past year.

Then things started getting in the way and while we were still collecting the dose sheets, no analysis of the data was getting done. Now I've got close to a year's worth of data that I'm finally getting around to entering into a database. It's a lot of typing and data entry.

It will be worth it in the end though I think. All of this dose information is a veritable gold mine and I think it will tell us a lot about what radiation doses in IR procedures are like and how the machines are utilized.

It's going to take a while to get all the numbers in, but I'm chipping away at it a month at a time. 4 months down so far for one room.