Table of Contents


What is Exam Name Mapping and Why is It Important?

The naming of radiology procedures across facilities varies widely and the absence of common names makes it difficult to compare radiology data between sites. For example, one radiology group may call a procedure a thorax CT angiogram, while another may call the same procedure a chest CTA scan. Mapping exam names to a standardized (or common) terminology is required to enable facilities participating in the Dose Index Registry (DIR) to meaningfully compare their radiation dose levels with other DIR facilities and to monitor dose performance through DIR feedback reports (for example, the DIR Facility Comparison report) while allowing for local customizations. Exam name mapping also helps facilities identify and resolve issues with protocols and scanners or devices and promotes protocol consistency between facilities.  

DIR Standardized Terminology Overview

A number of initiatives exist to standardize medical terminology such as the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®), the Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT®)

RadLex® Playbook, and  ACR Common.TM  The latter two initiatives are used to support terminology standardization for the DIR as described below. 

  • About RadLex® Playbook for CT Exam Name Mapping

When introduced in 2011, the DIR adopted Radlex, a project of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), for mapping CT exam names to provide a standard system for naming radiology procedures, based on the elements which define an imaging exam such as modality and body part.

  • About ACR CommonTM for Fluoroscopy Procedure and Digital Radiography Name Mapping 

Note: ACR Common is mapped to terminology from other standardization initiatives such as Radlex to support continuity and interoperability.

Getting Started With Mapping

Following are suggested steps to help you and your team set up and maintain the mapping of exam and procedure names.

  • Review the Start-up Guide

If your facility is participating in the DIR for the first time, review the DIR Start-up Guide for step-by-step instructions to help your team to get underway with submitting data and obtaining helpful feedback reports.

  • Develop a Plan for Exam Name Mapping

Exam name mapping should be performed at the corporate account level for all facilities within the corporate account by personnel with an NRDR User Profile of either Corporate Account Administrator (CAA) or Service User. 

Note: Several exceptions may require mapping at the facility level.  For example, in the case of a corporate account that has multiple facilities and only one facility actively participates in the DIR, the user profiles Facility Administrator, Registry Administrator, and Facility User may perform the mapping. However, facility personnel should coordinate with the CAA to ensure mappings performed at the corporate account level will not override mappings at the facility account level. Please contact the NRDR Help Desk for guidance prior to carrying out mapping at the facility account level.

  • Identify Personnel to Perform and Maintain the Exam Name Mappings

Whether your organizational structure is a single facility or multiple facilities within a corporate account, be sure to carefully coordinate exam name mapping activities to ensure consistency, accuracy and efficiency. Depending upon your healthcare setting, radiology department managers or practice administrators, physicists, lead CT technologists, or radiology IT personnel could all be good choices for overseeing or performing the mapping.  Contracting with a third party is also an option.

  • Complete the Exam Name Mapping Settings

 View the Exam Name Mapping Settings Knowledge Base article to learn about setting up mapping rules to help ensure mapping is carried out as intended across your corporate account.

The Exam Name Mapping Process Overview

The DIR offers an Exam Name Mapping Tool to support mapping (referred to as "tagging" in the tool) to standardized terminology: Radlex (for CT exams) or ACR Common (for fluoroscopy procedures and digital radiography exams). The following Knowledge Base articles provide more details:

  1.  Navigating the Exam Name Mapping Tool provides an overview of the features of the Exam Name Mapping Tool

  2. Using the Exam Name Mapping Tool provides details about how to use the tool for mapping exams and procedures and making updates.

  3. Using the Exam Name Mapping Tool Export and Upload Functions describes how to use the functions that are especially helpful for mapping and updating multiple exams.

Note: Exams must be mapped to a standardized term, or have a suggested standardized term, to be included in quarterly aggregate reports. All other exams are excluded from performance feedback reports.

Tips for Managing Exam and Procedure Name Mapping

Visit the Knowledge Base article Tips for Exam and Procedure Name Mapping to learn about strategies that participants use to help set up and maintain accurate and comprehensive mapping.  If you have a suggestion to add to this page, please send it to NRDR Support.