Evaluation of digital radiography practice using exposure index tracking

Alexander W. Scott, Yifang Zhou, Janet Allahverdian, Jessica L. Nute, Christina Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Some digital radiography (DR) detectors and software allow for remote download of exam statistics, including image reject status, body part, projection, and exposure index (EI). The ability to have automated data collection from multiple DR units is conducive to a quality control (QC) program monitoring institutional radiographic exposures. We have implemented such a QC program with the goal to identify outliers in machine radiation output and opportunities for improvement in radiation dose levels. We studied the QC records of four digital detectors in greater detail on a monthly basis for one year. Although individual patient entrance skin exposure varied, the radiation dose levels to the detectors were made to be consistent via phototimer recalibration. The exposure data stored on each digital detector were periodically downloaded in a spreadsheet format for analysis. EI median and standard deviation were calculated for each protocol (by body part) and EI histograms were created for torso protocols. When histograms of EI values for different units were compared, we observed differences up to 400 in average EI (representing 60% difference in radiation levels to the detector) between units nominally calibrated to the same EI. We identified distinct components of the EI distributions, which in some cases, had mean EI values 300 apart. Peaks were observed at the current calibrated EI, a previously calibrated EI, and an EI representing computed radiography (CR) techniques. Our findings in this ongoing project have allowed us to make useful interventions, from emphasizing the use of phototimers instead of institutional memory of manual techniques to improvements in our phototimer calibration. We believe that this QC program can be implemented at other sites and can reveal problems with radiation levels in the aggregate that are difficult to identify on a case-by-case basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-355
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Digital radiography
  • Exposure index
  • Quality assurance program
  • Radiation dose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Radiation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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