Results of a study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology suggest that a brief educational presentation may be all that is needed to increase physicians’ knowledge of occupational radiation exposure.1

Researchers assessed knowledge in 229 participants at a large academic institution. To assess the physicians’ knowledge of radiation risk, researchers tested participants on the topic, then showed the participants a 15-minute educational presentation on radiation exposure and risk and afterward tested them again. The questionnaires included topics about patient age and radiation risk, priority when choosing a diagnostic imaging examination, radiation threshold, and more.

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Study investigators found that baseline scores of knowledge for radiation exposure were low overall, except in the case of participants who were radiologists. An article published in Radiology Business2 echoed this finding, citing research from the University of Colorado Denver that found that 26% of healthcare providers had low knowledge about radiation exposure. However, the Journal of the American College of Radiology study found that after the short educational presentation, scores improved among physicians in every specialty.

Although the educational safety presentation on radiation seemed to improve physician knowledge of exposure and risk, the study did have limitations. Participants were all from the same institution, which may have had an impact on results. Additionally, all participation was anonymous, which did not allow the researchers to assess long-term retention of the presentation information or the rate at which ordering patterns for imaging tests may have changed.

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The study concluded that despite low overall baseline knowledge, basic educational effort in the form of a short safety presentation markedly improved knowledge of exposure and risks. The authors of the study suggest that because of increasing population exposure to radiation through medical imaging, safety presentations such as the one used in this study could result in increased physician awareness and improved patient-centered care.


  1. Hobbs JB, Goldstein N, Lind KE, Elder D, Dodd GD III, Borgstede JP. Physician knowledge of radiation exposure and risk in medical imaging. J Am Coll Radiol. 2018;15(1):34-43.
  2. Rohman M. Are physicians unaware about the effects, risk of radiation exposure? Radiology Business. November 7, 2017. Accessed July 15, 2018.