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Session: Professional General ePoster Viewing [Return to Session]

An Automated, Vendor-Neutral Method for CT Protocols Documentation

E Eastman*, D Zhang, Y Zhou, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA


PO-GePV-P-3 (Sunday, 7/25/2021)   [Eastern Time (GMT-4)]

Purpose: The large number of protocols on each computed tomography (CT) scanner makes protocol review a laborious task to complete manually, especially for institutions with multiple CT scanners. Vendor-specific naming conventions, variable protocol templates, and immutable documents make the constant review of protocols time-consuming and prone to errors. The purpose of this study was to develop an automated, vendor-neutral software solution to reformat the protocol export files obtained from CT scanners to facilitate the protocol review process.

Methods: Instead of manually maintaining a protocol book with all acquisition and reconstruction parameters for dozens of protocols on each CT scanner, we proposed taking advantage of the exported protocol files (in either .csv or .xml formats). Since these files are not reader- and print-friendly, a Python script-based program was created to identify and store values for the following parameters: tube potential, tube current, automatic exposure control reference, pitch, minimum and maximum tube current (if applicable), tube rotation time, collimation, computed tomography dose index (CTDI), CTDI notification value, dose-length product (DLP), slice thickness, slice interval, displayed field of view (DFOV), reconstruction kernel, and iterative reconstruction algorithm setting. An additional Python program was written to identify changes between two sets of protocols from the same scanner exported at different points in time.

Results: The consistent, vendor-neutral format accelerates the identification of relevant protocol parameters, making protocol documentation and reviewing much easier. The additional comparison program automatically identifies changes in protocols between two points in time, allowing the protocol management team to quickly review the changes for accuracy.

Conclusion: The program we developed saves the protocol management team a significant amount of time that would be spent manually parsing the raw protocol outputs or entering protocol changes. The program also opens new possibilities for more comprehensive analyses of protocols across vendors and throughout time.



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