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  • My Turn

    April 01, 2013

    Be an Agent of Change: Take the Pledge

    If someone told me years ago that someday I would help launch a social marketing campaign to raise awareness about adult radiation protection, I would have asked, “what’s a social marketing campaign?” Loosely stated, such a campaign addresses social problems using commercial marketing techniques. When change is needed on a large scale over a broad period of time, social marketing can effectively raise awareness and modify behavior.

    In June 2009 RSNA and the American College of Radiology (ACR) established the Joint Task Force on Adult Radiation Protection, which recommended a social marketing campaign targeting adult medical imaging with ionizing radiation. Building upon the success of the Image Gently campaign for children, the Task Force named its new initiative “Image Wisely.” They also recognized the importance of widening the circle to include medical physicists and imaging technologists, as represented by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), respectively.

    The Image Wisely campaign launched at RSNA 2010 and initially focused on CT. From 2011 to 2012 the second phase was completed, targeting nuclear medicine. Planning for the third phase is under way, targeting radiography and fluoroscopy. More than 17,000 individuals have pledged to adhere to the principles of Image Wisely:

    • Put patient’s safety, health and welfare first by optimizing imaging examinations to use only the radiation necessary to produce diagnostic quality images
    • Convey the principles of the Image Wisely Program to the imaging team in order to ensure that my facility optimizes its use of radiation when imaging patients
    • Communicate optimal patient imaging strategies to referring physicians, and be available for consultation
    • Routinely review imaging protocols to ensure that the least radiation necessary to acquire a diagnostic quality image is used for each examination

    I have a healthy respect for social marketing and its power to heighten awareness and inspire change. If you’ve not yet taken our pledge, I encourage you to adopt the principles of Image Wisely.

    For more information on Image Wisely, go to imagewisely.org.

    James A. Brink, M.D.
    James A. Brink, M.D., is radiologist-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Brink represents RSNA as co-chair of the Joint Task Force on Adult Radiation Protection and is a member of RSNA’s Patient-Centered Radiology Steering Committee.
    Image Wisely logo
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