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Program Information

QA Procedures and Metrics: In Search of QA Usability

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V Sathiaseelan

B Thomadsen

V Sathiaseelan1*, B Thomadsen2*, (1) Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL, (2) University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI


MO-A-16A-1 Monday 7:30AM - 8:25AM Room: 16A

Radiation therapy has undergone considerable changes in the past two decades with a surge of new technology and treatment delivery methods. The complexity of radiation therapy treatments has increased and there has been increased awareness and publicity about the associated risks. In response, there has been proliferation of guidelines for medical physicists to adopt to ensure that treatments are delivered safely. Task Group recommendations are copious, and clinical physicists' hours are longer, stretched to various degrees between site planning and management, IT support, physics QA, and treatment planning responsibilities.

Radiation oncology has many quality control practices in place to ensure the delivery of high-quality, safe treatments. Incident reporting systems have been developed to collect statistics about near miss events at many radiation oncology centers. However, tools are lacking to assess the impact of these various control measures. A recent effort to address this shortcoming is the work of Ford et al (2012) who recently published a methodology enumerating quality control quantification for measuring the effectiveness of safety barriers. Over 4000 near-miss incidents reported from 2 academic radiation oncology clinics were analyzed using quality control quantification, and a profile of the most effective quality control measures (metrics) was identified.

There is a critical need to identify a QA metric to help the busy clinical physicists to focus their limited time and resources most effectively in order to minimize or eliminate errors in the radiation treatment delivery processes. In this symposium the usefulness of workflows and QA metrics to assure safe and high quality patient care will be explored.

Two presentations will be given:
Quality Metrics and Risk Management with High Risk Radiation Oncology Procedures
Strategies and metrics for quality management in the TG-100 Era

Learning Objectives:
1. Provide an overview and the need for QA usability metrics: Different cultures/practices affecting the effectiveness of methods & metrics.
2. Show examples of quality assurance workflows, Statistical process control, that monitor the treatment planning and delivery process to identify errors.
3. To learn to identify and prioritize risks and QA procedures in radiation oncology.
4. Try to answer the question: Can a quality assurance program aided by quality assurance metrics help minimize errors and ensure safe treatment delivery. Should such metrics be institution specific.


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