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A Comprehensive Variance Reporting System and An Analysis of Variances Reported at Our Institution

B Miller

B Miller1*, M Dickinson1, T Nurushev2, R Rasmusson2, C Smith2, A Orfali3, N Wen2, A Cormier2, L Gifford4, J Dragovic2, B Movsas2, I Aref1, K Levin4, S Ryu2, M Ajlouni2, E Walker2, D Pradhan3, I Chetty2, (1) Henry Ford Health System, Clinton Twp., MI, (2) Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI, (3) Henry Ford Health System, Brownstown Twp, MI, (4) Henry Ford Health System, West Bloomfield, MI

SU-E-T-197 Sunday 3:00:00 PM - 6:00:00 PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: It is essential for radiation oncology departments to have comprehensive patient safety and quality programs. Two years ago we undertook a systematic review of our safety/QA program. Existing policies were updated and new policies created where necessary. One crucial component of any safety/QA program is continually updating it based on current information, the 'check' and 'act' portions of the Deming Cycle. We accomplished this with a transparent variance reporting system and a safety/QA committee reviewing and acting on reported variances.

Methods: With 5 radiation oncology centers in our institution, we needed to devise a system that would allow anyone to report a variance and provide our QA committee the ability to review variances system-wide. We developed the system using web-based tools. The system allows individuals to report variances, anonymously or named, specify the nature of the variance and indicate the tools used to identify the variance.

Results: In 2011, 285 variances were reported, 102 were reported by physicists, 86 anonymously, 71 by therapists and 26 by dosimetrists. We realized the need to develop clear classifications for variances. We added a high priority category, defined as variances which resulted in or had the potential to result in harm to a patient or when a policy is purposely overridden. Of the 285 variances reported, 5 were high priority. We created a process variance category, defined as variances where a specific clinical process is not followed. Of the 285 reported variances 155 were process variances.

Conclusions: Reporting of variances through a centralized database is central toward developing a robust patient safety/quality assurance program. Anonymous reporting fosters a non-punitive environment, and promotes the 'safety culture'. The goal of such a system is to review trends in clinical processes and ultimately to improve safety/quality by reducing variances associated with these processes.

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