An in Depth Review of Our 2012 ASTRO Comprehensive Workforce Survey
E Chen1*, A Arnone2, J Sillanpaa3, Y Yu4, (1) Cheshire Medical Center, Keene, NH, (2) American Society for Radiation Oncology, Fairfax, VA, (3) Kaiser Permanente, South San Francisco, CA, (4) Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PASU-E-P-10 Sunday 3:00PM - 6:00PM Room: Exhibit Hall
Purpose: To identify the capacities, needs and concerns of the physicist in current radiation oncology workforce and prepare to meet future challenges, improve quality and safety in patient care and slow the rising cost of health care.
Methods: ASTRO conducted a workforce survey in 2012 in collaboration with AAPM and other specialty societies. All segments of the radiation oncology workforce were surveyed. An expert panel, made up of volunteers from each segment and representatives of the collaborating societies, assisted in developing survey questions. The questions underwent cognitive response testing. The data collection period was approximately three months. 17.6% of the 6,286 physicists receiving the survey responded. In addition to compiling data on the education, board certification, workload and job satisfaction, the participants were also asked about patient safety environment, new technologies they have adopted and their ideas on improving quality and safety in patient care.
Results: This survey mapped out the characteristics of the current radiation oncology workforce, as well as the needs and concerns of the current and future workforces. 93.9% of physicists work full time. 64.4% are ABR certified. On average, 51.5% of a workload related to physicists is patient specific clinical tasks and 26.1% is quality assurance. 58.1% of respondents think their workload is heavy; the mean work week was 46.6 hours. 57.2% of physicists believed that there is an oversupply of physicists in their area vs. 12% of administrators that shared this belief. 73.5% of physicists believed that they should participate in a local CME program which is procedure-specific in order to deliver radiation therapy with high quality/safety and keep up with the development of new technologies.
Conclusion: The survey results will be valuable in assisting us in predicting future manpower needs and provide guidance in developing future policies to meet rising demands of radiation therapy.
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