EUROPEAN MEDICAL ALARA NETWORK (EMAN) – building a sustainable bridge between researchers, health professionals and policy makers
EMAN EC Tender Project*
The EC-funded EMAN Tender Project, which formally ended in October 2012, was carried out by a consortium composed of seven organisations: the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM, project coordinator), the Federal Office for Radiation Protection in Germany (BfS), the Nuclear Protection Evaluation Center, France (CEPN), the European Federation of Organisations for Medical Physics (EFOMP), the European Federation of Radiographer Societies (EFRS), the European Radiation Dosimetry Group (EURADOS), and the European Society of Radiology (ESR).
The main objective of the EMAN Tender Project was to establish a sustainable network where different stakeholders within the medical sector would have the opportunity to discuss and exchange information relating to the implementation of the As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) principle in the field of medicine. Another overarching objective of the Tender Project was to give specific advice and suggestions to the European Commission.
The EMAN Tender Project was divided into seven Work Packages, each of which covered specific tasks, which contributed to the establishment of the European Medical ALARA Network.
The main tasks were to develop radiation protection optimisation strategies in three areas of diagnostic and interventional radiology: computed tomography, interventional radiology, cardiology and radiological examinations performed outside the radiology department. Three working groups with representatives of the professionals involved (medical radiologists, cardiologists, radiographers, medical physicists and regulators) worked for two years to identify the needs and priorities for the implementation of elements to increase the level of radiation protection, both for patients and, where relevant, staff.
The results achieved by the three multidisciplinary groups provide a methodology to apply in other fields of diagnosis and therapy. It is recommended that the same methodology be applied at the hospital level, establishing multidisciplinary ‘core teams to implement exposure optimisation in the different areas. Each working group developed synthesis documents and recommendations addressed towards the European Commission, standardisation and regulatory bodies, manufacturers and users.
Sustainable European Medical ALARA Network
After the successful conclusion of the EC-funded Tender Project, the three professional organisations involved – the ESR, EFRS and EFOMP – decided to ensure sustainability of the Network and signed a Letter of Intent in September 2012, forming the new EMAN Steering Committee. This paved the way for the post-project activities of the Network and further outreach to other relevant stakeholders.
The EMAN Network structure includes the Steering Committee (ESR, EFRS and EFOMP), a management office (ESR), stakeholders, and observers. To date the following organisations have joined EMAN: CEPN as a stakeholder along with EURADOS, BfS, SSM and the European Commission as observers. The Steering Committee has reached out to a number of additional medical professional organisations, international organisations and regulatory bodies inviting them to join the Network, and is hoping to further enlarge the Network in the near future.
The long-term vision of the EMAN Network is to contribute to optimising radiation protection for healthcare workers and patients throughout Europe, and to further contribute to an effective safety culture in the medical sector.
The focus of the EMAN Steering Committee is to develop a strategic plan for future activities laying down priorities and realistic goals in alignment with the leadership of the ESR, EFRS and EFOMP, as well as the European Commission, which will serve as a basis for further outreach to stakeholder organisations and invitations to join the Network.
The ongoing activities of the Network include stakeholder outreach and encouragement of active participation, revision and update of the project website and wide dissemination of documents developed during the EC Tender Project to ensure uptake and implementation of the suggested optimisation measures. Collaboration focuses on the scope of activities of the EC-funded project. To that end, the three working groups are encouraged to resume their activities, update their documents and build upon the achievements of the project.
* More EMAN information and documents will soon be available here.