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TJC Proposes Standards for Pediatric Head Injury

The Joint Commission (TJC) released a proposal to require hospitals that treat pediatric patients with minor head trauma to determine whether to perform a CT scan.

Children are more susceptible than adults to the effects of ionizing radiation. CT scans save lives, but the radiation exposure is responsible for 15,000 new cancers every year. TJC is not the only organization that has expressed concerns about preventing unnecessary radiation exposure: CMS recently rewrote all its radiology and nuclear medicine conditions of participation, noting the same concerns.

TJC has expressed that the use of guidelines can determine when the CT scan is necessary for minor pediatric trauma and when dual phase CT exams of the head and chest are appropriate for pediatric patients. Hospitals and other providers are expected to use the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network’s (PECARN) Childhood Head Trauma: A Neuroimaging Decision rule.

For more information on PECARN, please visit:

The main prediction rule manuscript is available at:

To view the proposed TJC National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG.17.01.01), please visit:

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