Tag: personnel dosimetry

07 Feb 2022
Dosimetry management

How to Increase Dosimetry Compliance Rates with Versant Physics Proven Management Process 

One of the many responsibilities of a Radiation Safety Officer is to manage their facility’s personnel dosimetry program and monitor the exposures of the radiation workers employed there. This may seem like a simple task; however, it can be a challenge to get workers to wear and exchange/read their dosimeters in accordance with state and federal regulations. This leads many RSOs to wonder if it is possible to improve dosimetry compliance rates, particularly in large programs that have hundreds of occupationally exposed individuals to monitor. 

With the right dosimeter and the right management process, improving dosimetry compliance rates is very possible, regardless of the size of your dosimetry program.

Below we explain the common problems associated with traditional methods of personnel dosimetry program management, as well as offer a solution for improving your dosimetry compliance rates without increasing costs or workload for your staff.

The Problem with Traditional Methods of Dosimetry Management

Dosimetry is one of the key elements of a radiation safety program, but it can also be one of the biggest headaches for Radiation Safety Officers and Environmental, Health, and Safety managers. There are several problems with traditional methods of dosimetry management that managers often encounter, including:

  • A time-consuming badge collection and redistribution process
  • High costs of running a badge monitoring program
  • Time between when an exposure or anomaly is received and when an individual is made aware of the exposure
  • Keeping track of historical dose reads and measurements
  • Efficient communication with wearers regarding read reminders, exceeding dose limits, and more

These problems can make an RSO feel as though they’re herding cats at worst and like they’re constantly one step behind at best. Juggling these many tasks within just one aspect of a radiation safety program, along with a variety of other responsibilities, it’s not hard to see why dosimetry compliance rates can be rather low.  

Versant Physics Personnel Dosimetry Management

Versant Physics manages personnel dosimetry programs a bit differently. In addition to using top-of-the-line electronic dosimeters that utilize the latest monitoring technology, our team of badge specialists and physicists combines customer service, technical support, and quality administration tactics to manage everything your program needs to run successfully. From ordering new badges to ensuring wearers read their badges promptly, our team’s management process is proven and effective.

Versant Physics also utilizes their proprietary radiation safety software Odyssey to manage the personnel dosimetry programs of their clients.

Personnel Dosimetry Management Module

Odyssey is a cloud-based software that features an entire module devoted to personnel dosimetry management. The module includes useful tools like a query builder for compiling data records and a Form Generator for easy management of Form-5s. The module also features a series of customizable widgets that allow users to visualize pre-set metrics in their program, including a User Watch List for wearers likely to exceed internal or annual dose limits, Read Activity, and Badges Communicated.

Instadose+ by Mirion Technologies

Personnel dosimetry programs managed by Versant Physics also utilize the Instadose+ dosimeter. These small, lightweight badges combine Bluetooth technology, Direct Ion Storage (DIS), and SmartMonitoring to wirelessly and remotely transmit radiation dose data. Mobile devices, such as a smartphone or tablet, as well as PCs or hotspot stations, assist with this process.

Instadose+ Dosimeter

Each dosimeter has a built-in memory chip with a unique serial code that is assigned to the specific wearer. The badges are assigned long-term, meaning they do not need to be sent in for processing at the end of a monitoring period. Instead, wearers are responsible for reading their badges per the monitoring period set up by their radiation safety program.

Reading the badge is easy and takes less than a minute to complete from start to finish. Wearers typically read their badge by opening the Instadose+ app on their mobile device and holding down the button on the back of the dosimeter for 5 seconds, or until the light on the top of the badge turns green. Readings are then stored within their secure account.

The Instadose+ allows for unlimited, on-demand dose reads, so wearers can complete this process as often as they desire. Not only is this useful from a dose history standpoint, but it also gives wearers the power to view their current and historical dose reads from their online account anytime they want. If they have a question or a concern, the answers are already at their fingertips.

Overall, the Instadose+ simplifies dose reads and makes them more accessible to the individual worker and radiation safety officer. This allows for improved dosimetry compliance across the board.

Its user-friendly read process, historical dose transparency, and accurate, reliable readings are some of the reasons why it is a key player in Versant Physics’ badge management process.  

Badge Administration

Our experienced technical support specialists are equipped to handle the entire badge management process. This includes ordering badges from the manufacturer to removing wearers from the program. They also handle:

  • Remote and/or in-person badge training
  • Initialization of badges
  • Vendor credentialing and attestation
  • On-site event support

Compliance Administration

Versant Physics assigns a physicist to each client to help drive program compliance. The physicist works with the program RSO to develop an effective plan for making sure wearers read their badges. In the event there is no program RSO, Versant Physics’ physicists can serve as in-house RSOs as well.

Together with the badge team, they are also responsible for: 

  • Regular communication with wearers (weekly, monthly, or quarterly)
  • Read-day reminders
  • Non-communicated follow-up reminders
  • Comprehensive monthly compliance reports
  • Dose monitoring
  • High dose alerts
  • Dose discussions with RSOs/workers

Consistent communication with wearers is a necessary part of improving overall dosimetry compliance rates. Depending on the monitoring period set by the program RSO, Versant Physics sends out scheduled read-day reminder emails. They also send follow-up emails to those that have not read their badge.

Furthermore, RSOs and program leadership are always kept in the loop as to where their program currently stands. This is done through the use of a comprehensive monthly report.

Versant Physics monthly report displays badges that have not submitted a reading during the monitoring period. It also lists duplicate badges, lost and defective badges, as well as any new badges that were assigned in that month. The report provides status updates on mid-month follow-up with wearers, an active wearer list organized by location, and high dose reports as well.

This report paints a clear picture of program compliance month over month and helps pinpoint areas of concern. It also addresses program elements that could be improved upon in the following months.

Customer Service and Technical Support

When issues arise or wearers experience problems with their badges, Versant Physics’ team of technical support specialists are trained and ready to handle them promptly. They will help with:

  • Badge troubleshooting
  • Issuing replacement badges
  • Phone and email support

Additionally, wearers have access to the Versant Physics support desk, where they can submit questions or concerns with their badges 24/7. All requests submitted by wearers and program personnel receive a response within 24-hours.

A Note on Radiation Dose Limits

Versant Physics clients can set their own dose limits for their employees (within the regulatory limits) depending on what works best for their program.

For example, some clients prefer to set specific limits for single doses. Others have more lenient thresholds that are measured quarterly. Whatever your program’s monitoring preferences are, Versant Physics is prepared to help you implement and manage them.

The Takeaway

Versant Physics badge specialists, physicists, and technical support teams provide efficient badge management catered to the needs of your program. With the help of the Instadose+ dosimeter, Odyssey radiation safety software, and years of experience managing dosimetry programs of all sizes, we can work with you to help improve dosimetry compliance rates in your program.

Contact our team to learn more about our badge management process and pricing.

06 Oct 2021
Odyssey Personnel Dosimetry module dashboard

Odyssey “How To” Series: Personnel Dosimetry Module

Join us for an interview with our Odyssey Implementation Analyst Katelyn Waters, where we discuss how to carry out certain functions of the Personnel Dosimetry module and answer some of your frequently asked questions.

Odyssey is a radiation safety software suite designed to help RSOs, EHS managers, and Radiation Safety Specialists manage affordable and efficient programs.

KB 00:10: Welcome to Part 1 of our Odyssey how-to series, where we highlight some frequently asked questions about the cloud-based radiation safety software suite and its application in real-world radiation safety programs. Over the next 12 weeks, we’ll be addressing each of Odyssey’s modules, and breaking them down to give a better idea of how they work. My name is KB, and today I’m joined by Odyssey Implementation Analyst Katelyn Waters to discuss the Personnel Dosimetry Module. Thanks for joining me, Katelyn!

Katelyn 00:37: Thanks KB, I’m happy to be here and hopefully we can help answer some of the frequently asked questions that we get for the Personnel Dosimetry module in Odyssey.

KB 00:46: So, the personnel dosimetry module is a key feature of the Odyssey platform. It features customizable widgets and reporting tools that help RSOs and EHS professionals managing a badge program do so in a very efficient way. But how exactly is dosimetry data made available in the module?

Katelyn 01:05: That’s an excellent question, and one of the first that we get whenever we are doing different demonstrations of the software. So, personnel dosimetry does support data from any vendor, but it is primarily designed for Mirion and Landauer. So what it actually does is the software uses a login to either AMP for Mirion or MyLDR for Landauer to view and import that dosimetry information into your account. And so this import happens automatically, we set it up to be daily for Mirion and monthly for Landauer, and so everything’s going to be automatically pulled into the software for you.

KB 01:43: If I have multiple dosimetry accounts can I use this module to manage them?

Katelyn 01:48: Yeah, absolutely. So, it is designed to help aid in the management of multiple accounts. So, whether those accounts are all through one vendor, being Mirion or Landauer, or if they’re from both vendors, this is very beneficial for managing those. You can change the dashboard, that’s what we’re currently looking at here for the module, and this dashboard is a quick at a glance view of your dosimetry account. And you can change what account you’re looking at from this first dropdown menu here that I’m hovering over currently, and you can also change it to look at specific locations or subaccounts, and that’s from the second dropdown menu here.

Additionally, we also have something called a Common Wearer Profile, and what that does is it’s going to combine dosimetry information from more than one account. So if you have a wearer that has a badge from both vendors, or maybe they have two badges that are under different locations or subaccounts, you can combine that information into one profile to make viewing that dosimetry history a lot easier for that wearer.

KB 02:50: So, if I wanted to add or remove any of those multiple badges on my account, can I do so from within Odyssey?

Katelyn 02:57: Yeah, great question. So, the actual addition or editing of any of the badges for wearers for your program will still take place in your vendor portal, whether that’s Mirion, Landauer, or another party. So this particular module is designed to give you some additional features that aren’t available in those vendor portals. Some of those features include ALARA reporting, easy form 5 access, different alerts and reminders, shipping, different management for some of those high-level activities that you’re going to need to do for your program.

KB 03:31: I see. What about this dashboard? Is it possible to change any of the information that’s displayed here?

Katelyn 03:38: Yes. I definitely recommend that when you start utilizing this module in the software that’s something you do right away because it makes it very beneficial for you, and you can do that by selecting this gear icon here, it’s going to take us to show us all of the settings. So each of these boxes we refer to as a widget, and each widget has its own settings for what you want to view on your dashboard. A good example here is the Recently Viewed widget in the top right-hand corner. I have what I want to see available for selection with these checkboxes, I have some drop-down menus for the number of things that I want to see here for the Read activity widget I can choose the time period… so depending on what it is they each have their own settings for these particular widgets, and that way you can really make it for what you need to see for your program.

In addition to that, you can also click and drag things to more prominently display them. So, if I want to have this graph of Read Activity–these are doses that are coming in each day–I can put this at the very top so I can see that a more prominent position. You can also hide things if they aren’t useful to your program. So, say you don’t want this recently viewed widget, I can select the eye icon and hide that and if I were to save these settings it would remove that from my dashboard. So, it’s very customizable.

KB 04:59: You mentioned read activity. Is there a place that I can see who hasn’t read their badge?

Katelyn 05:06: Yeah, so we have a query data section which I can actually go to and show you here. And this section allows you to do some really in-depth searches on your dosimetry data. You can choose to select what you want to search for, so with your example, I would go and search for different personnel, and ones that don’t have a badge reading. And then I come down to this section where it says Include or Exclude and I can choose things that I want to either include in my search or exclude from my search. And for us today, I’ll go ahead and add in an inclusion statement to include people for the current account that we’re looking at, just as an example, and then I can exclude people who have readings and we will only be left with those who do not, so I’ll go ahead and exclude people who have a reading for this year by putting in the date of January 1st.

So we can hit this play button here and it’s going to then search through all of your dosimetry records and give you the corresponding data for your filters. Once it does so, you have a table result at the bottom. And so, the format of this data is a little odd due to the fact that we’re looking at primarily, or not primarily, exclusively demo data. So you can see the employee IDs are very long. But this is what the format of that table would look like for you, just have your own dosimetry data displayed in it.  

And these are linked to other areas of the software. So for these wearers, I can actually select them to go to their profiles, and in addition, we have a list of contact information here that if you were to select this mail icon for it would actually put all of these people into a mailing list for you so you can easily communicate with them. So if we do want to reach out to this group and say hey, you need to please read your badge for 2021, you can do so by this easy feature there.

KB 07:02: Well that seems pretty easy to do. Is there any way for me to receive notification of individuals with high doses?

Katelyn 07:10: Absolutely. So that is actually one of my favorite features that we have added into the Personnel Dosimetry module and it exists in this reporting section. So I’ll go ahead and select that and we’ll take a look at that.

The reporting section has a tab called ALARA. The module has the ability to add in different custom ALARA thresholds. For this particular demo dosimetry account, we have two thresholds added in. I’ve added in an ALARA 1 and an ALARA 2. These are both quarterly thresholds but you can also have them trigger on a single dose, they can be monthly, quarterly, or annually. So, you have a variety of options there. They can also be scoped to particular badge regions that a badge is assigned to. Since these are quarterly thresholds, this next filter of the period gives me the option to choose a quarterly time period but that will change depending on your threshold. And if I do put in last quarter as an example and select run report, what that’s going to do is give me a table of results of individuals that have surpassed that threshold for the chosen time period. So we have these three demo people who have surpassed the ALARA 1 Threshold,  and then one person additionally also surpassed the ALARA 2, so this table is really nice because if they did surpass other thresholds it will let you know that. So if you only want to follow up on the higher of the two you absolutely can do that.

It will tell you the time period that we’re covering currently, and then the cumulative dose for that time period, and then the stage that you’re at in the process. So this will allow you to email each of these individual wearers either notification that they went over this dose threshold or a questionnaire – that form that they actually get sent is completely customizable – and the wearer will receive that via email. Once they do, they will open and view that, if they have any questions they can fill that out, it requires a signature and dates it for them automatically, and then that gets sent back to Odyssey. Once it does get sent back, this pie chart progresses and shows you where this process is. So it will change to being yellow for “waiting for RSO response.” So if you’re an RSO, a radiation safety representative, you can come in here, review that questionnaire, and the responses, and sign off on that to complete the process.

And to get back to your initial question about alerts for these items, throughout this entire process you’re going to be receiving in-software alerts which can optionally be email alerts as well. So when a wearer initially goes over the threshold, any of these thresholds you have set up, you’re going to get an alert that looks like a post-it note like one of these. And then when they fill it out they also will trigger an alert and it’ll let you know they have it filled out so that way you can come in and review that as soon as possible. And so you’re always going to be notified of each stage of the process there as this progresses.

KB 10:07: Well that all sounds great! Thanks, Katelyn, for helping us address some frequently asked questions about Odyssey’s Personnel Dosimetry module. Join both of us next week for part 2 where we’re going to be talking about the inventory tracking module and its ability to assist with tracking radioactive materials in your radiation safety program.

Katelyn 10:26: Thanks, KB.


Schedule an in-depth demo with our Odyssey team to discuss how the software can assist you with your radiation safety management needs, or visit our website to learn more about Odyssey’s radiation safety modules.

04 Nov 2020
Odyssey's Personnel Dosimetry Management module

Manage Your Personnel Dosimetry Program with Versant Physics

Personnel Dosimetry is a key part of any radiation safety program. The dosimeter’s primary use is to determine doses to individuals who are exposed to radiation on the job by measuring the absorbed radiation energy. These devices are worn on the chest or abdomen, with specialized dosimeters available for other areas of the body such as the extremities.

Federal and State regulations mandate occupational exposure monitoring for a variety of reasons. These regulations can vary based on access to radiation or high radiation areas, quarterly or annual limits, or other requirements mandated by the regulating body.

There are dozens of reasons outside of these regulations why personnel dosimetry monitoring is important for the health and safety of occupationally exposed personnel, but it can be difficult to know where to begin when implementing your own program. There are regulations to navigate, staff to train on how to wear and read their badges, and the constant administrative upkeep required to monitor incoming dose reads and to ensure that your program is compliant.

Versant Physics specializes in personnel dosimetry program management, with a trained technical support team ready to tackle compliance issues and monitoring, badge administration—including initializing for new wearers, adding and removing wearers, read day reminders, and monthly reporting—and training.  

Instadose+ Dosimeter

“Our clients range from less than 10 badges to over 1000 badges, and include Instadose+, ring dosimeters, and TLD’s,” says Spencer Vanderweele, Versant Physics’ lead Technical Support Specialist. “It is important for our wearers to transmit readings on a regular basis to ensure each badge is functioning as expected. Regular readings also help us to confirm that each badged worker is following their ALARA practices to keep exposures as low as reasonably achievable.”

View how easy it is to read your Instadose+ badge here.

To manage the back end of dosimetry programs for all Versant Physics accounts, Vanderweele relies on the company’s proprietary software Odyssey. The cloud-based software was designed to simplify every aspect of a radiation safety program, with an entire module devoted to personnel dosimetry.

“With Odyssey we can view exact numbers at a glance, or dive deep into records if there are ever any concerns,” says Vanderweele. “I utilize the Personnel Dosimetry module to manage most accounts, and consistently find myself diving into the records through the Query Builder. This feature allows you to set your own parameters for record results based on active participants and allows you to filter out participants who required updated readings to more easily follow up.

Odyssey's Query-builder
Odyssey’s Query-builder feature.

“The new Form Generator has [also] been an incredible help. This feature allows the user to pull Form-5s, pre-sign, and even email directly to participants all from one page! This saves me or the RSO time (and their wrist!) by allowing us to pre-sign thousands of documents with the click of a button!”

The module is made up of a series of customizable widgets that allow users to visualize pre-set metrics for at-a-glance monitoring. Users can view recent logins and read activity, latest abnormal readings, and set up a User Watch List for wearers likely to exceed internal or annual dose limits. These features, including the Query-Builder and Form Generator, simplify and streamline the badge management process for the busy RSO or badge administrator.

Odyssey's Personnel Dosimetry Management module
Odyssey’s Personnel Dosimetry module dashboard.

In fact, Vanderweele says, without Odyssey, managing a single client would likely be a team effort.

“It would have a tremendous impact on the timeliness of our client response and ability to provide relevant, up-to-date information. Simply counting the number of individual badges, of all types, would be a huge task on its own without Odyssey. I know because Odyssey was not available to me when I first started at Versant Physics. But now, Odyssey allows me to put together complex and specific reports with ease, all while managing several accounts.”

The benefits of using a seasoned badge management team like Versant Physics, combined with the efficient power of Odyssey, are numerous. “Versant Physics’ background allows us to cater to our client’s specific needs,” says Vanderweele. “From our regulatory expertise to our technical support systems, Versant Physics will take the guess work out of your radiation safety program.”

Contact sales@versantphysics.com to learn more about our personnel dosimetry management process, to order badges, and pricing details.

Versant Physics logo

Forum Article "Radiopharmaceutical Extravasation: Pragmatic Radiation Protection" published ahead of print

An article written by Versant team members Dr. Darrell R. Fisher, Ph.D. and Misty Liverett, M.S., CNMT was recently published ahead of print in Health Physics. The article provides an unbiased, scientific assessment of pragmatic and reasonable health physics actions that should be taken in response to inadvertent extravasation events. Click the link below to view the article.

Permits

THE PERMISSION SYSTEM FOR INVENTORY TRACKING, MACHINE MANAGEMENT & EQUIPMENT CATALOG MODULES

Permit Profile

Each permit has a dedicated profile of information that includes authorized personnel, radioactive material, machines, and devices. Permit conditions, completed audits, and forms are also found on this profile.

Authorized Condition Database

Create and view authorized conditions included on permits. Previously created authorized conditions are listed with their code, category, and description.

Permit Enforcement

Information specified on a permit not only serves as a record of that permit, but also controls what can be added to other modules. The location, owner and type of radioactive materials, machines, and equipment can be enforced by permits.

Permit Audits

Perform permit audits, mail the results to relevant personnel, and track responses to non-compliances.