The Nationwide Evaluation of X-ray Trends (NEXT) program is a partnership between the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Inc. (CRCPD) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), with financial support from the American College of Radiology (ACR) since 1998, to characterize the radiation doses patients receive during diagnostic x-ray examinations.
The NEXT survey program selects a particular radiological examination for study and captures radiation exposure data from a nationally representative sample of U.S. clinical facilities. Volunteer state radiation control personnel conduct the surveys using reference phantoms most of which are clinically validated to represent the radiation attenuation presented by an average-size patient. Surveys are repeated periodically to track trends as technology and clinical practices change.
The NEXT trifold brochures contain a summary of significant technical findings of a particular survey, and are intended to provide a brief snapshot of the state-of-practice to both the radiation protection specialist and to the practicing radiological community. Clinical facilities can compare findings at their site or patient exposure and clinical quality indicators with statistical findings representing the U.S. practicing community. The companion brochure ' Thirty Years of NEXT' briefly summarizes selected technical parameters of most of the past surveys.
NEXT protocols provide procedures for capturing technical data associated with the practice of the surveyed diagnostic x-ray procedure, including patient skin-entrance air kerma, image quality, clinical technique factors, quality of film processing, and general QA/QC procedures. NEXT protocols must be used in conjunction with the associated NEXT phantom in order to compare acquired exposure data with existing NEXT survey results.
Nationwide Evaluation of X-Ray Trends
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