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“Safety Is No Accident” publication is now available, providing guidance to radiotherapy centers on appropriate staffing and safety measures

As many of you know, shortly after the 2010 AAPM-ASTRO sponsored “safety summit” in Miami, ASTRO convened a multi-society effort to develop a guidance document describing the elements needed for a safe radiation oncology practice environment. A total of 11 other societies joined ASTRO in this effort, including the AAPM whose delegates were Dan Pavord, Chris Serago and Michael Mills. The final document provides an overview of the many factors which contribute to a strong safety culture, with a focus on appropriate process design, the roles and responsibilities of each member of the treatment team, adequate time and resources to perform critical tasks, and appropriate staffing levels. This last component has been viewed by many as an update to the 1991 ISCRO publication referred to as the “Blue Book”, and the staffing recommendations therefore garnered special attention.

The initial version which was published by ASTRO omitted some qualifiers to the staffing recommendations. These qualifiers were in the draft version which the AAPM had endorsed, and we felt it was important to restore them. After discussions between the AAPM and ASTRO leadership, the principal authors agreed to restore the references to having two (2) qualified individuals present during treatment procedures and to recognizing that the actual staffing needs may be higher or lower depending on the complexity of patients treated or the complexity of the technology in a given clinic.

The revised document is available on the ASTRO web site.

You are encouraged to read it and to share it with your clinical team members and administrators.