International Radiology Quality Network

IRQN    Collaboration is strength

World Health Organisation (WHO)

Global Initiative on Radiation Safety in Healthcare Settings World Health Organisation

The Global Initiative on Radiation Safety in Healthcare Settings (GIRSHS) is conducted by the Department of Public Health and Environment (PHE) and its Interventions for Healthy Environmental Unit under the Health Security and Environment Cluster (HSE). The aim is to promote safer use of radiation and protect patients, workers and the community in healthcare settings. The IRQN was invited to participate in a Technical Meeting which was held on 15th to 17th December 2008 following a preliminary meeting in June.

The meeting was attended by invited delegates from developed and developing Member States, invited organizations (ACR, ALATRO, ASN, ASTRO, EC, ESTRO, FORO, IAEA, ICRP, ILO, IOMP, IRPA, IRQN, ISR, ISRRT, RCR and UNSCEAR) and WHO personnel.

The GIRSHS will identify and engage a broad range of stakeholders as partners and end-users. A discipline and systematic approach will be adopted to handle the key risks in radiation medicine, employing risk assessment, risk control, risk management and risk communication elements. Clearly articulated aims, principles and prioritized activities will shape the initiative’s framework. A well-constructed work plan will be required for an initiative involving many stakeholder groups from the disciplines of diagnostic imaging, interventional radiology, radiotherapy and nuclear medicine.

The initiative is an exciting project of unprecedented scope. The progress at this stage is promising as evident by the number and range of stakeholders who have participated, shared ideas and offered valuable suggestions. In 2009, a report of the meeting will be released. The WHO will finalize and prioritize the initial activities pending on the available funds.

In the last few years, the IRQN has trialled a number of activities to improve quality in radiology and international collaboration. The GIRSHS is an excellent opportunity for the network to contribute to activities leading to a safer use of radiation in a coordinated way. As an advocate, the IRQN can contribute by drafting evidence-based information, education material to the stakeholders and providing implementable recommendations to the regulatory bodies. As a gatekeeper, the network can assist by providing tools to reduce dose exposure by justification and optimization.

Collaboration is strength” is the network’s motto and coordination will enable a more effective use of resources. The IRQN looks forward to actively participating in this exciting WHO initiative.

Diagnostic Imaging and Medical Devices Informal Consultation

Under the WHO’s Health System and Services Cluster is the Department of Essential Health Technologies (EHT) and its Diagnostic Imaging and Medical Devices (DIM) Unit. The IRQN was invited by Dr. Stefan Groth, Director of the EHT Department to participate in an Informal Consultation on the role of WHO in Diagnostic Imaging. This consultation took place in the WHO HQ between 7th to 9th May 2009. The objectives of this meeting were:

  • To discuss WHO’s role in diagnostic imaging;
  • To achieve consensus on continuing, adjusting or realigning current WHO activities in diagnostic imaging, with focus in primary healthcare; and
  • To obtain support and approval of the recommendations.

The meeting outcomes will help to draft a work plan for WHO activities in diagnostic imaging in the coming years. The list of invited participants includes individual experts, representatives from international diagnostic imaging societies, organizations, industry, other UN agencies and WHO regional offices.

The IRQN looks forward to working with the Diagnostic Imaging and Medical Devices Unit and the Department of Essential Health Technologies to advance quality and safety in diagnostic imaging.


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A team of IRQN Referral Guidelines Working Group members were invited to a WHO consultancy on “Referral Guidelines for Appropriate Use of Radiation Imaging” in its Geneva HQ during March 2010.  The 35 invited experts from 19 countries representing 23 international, regional and national agencies and professional organizations have agreed to collaborate and work towards the common objective and develop a common set of referral guidelines on an appropriate use of diagnostic imaging and interventional procedures.  The experts also agreed that it was feasible to conduct an international project to achieve this goal…   More here

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