ASTRO releases updated radiation oncology safety guide

‘Safety is No Accident: A Framework for Quality Radiation Oncology and Care’ is a guide for the safety of patients and improvement in quality at the centers of radiation therapy, and can be downloaded from www.astro.org/safetyisnoaccident.

MD, FASTRO, the Chair of Board of Directors of ASTRO, Mr.  Paul Harari stated: “Patient safety is a central tenet of radiation oncology practice, and it is especially important as major advances in treatment planning and delivery increase the complexity of cancer care.” Furthermore he added:  “Safety is No Accident includes essential guidance for radiation therapy clinics to promote a safe environment for the life-saving treatments they deliver to patients.”

Safety is No Accident is composed by professionals in dosimetry, radiation oncology and medical physics, highlighting the workforce and procedures required to put together and sustain a safe environment of radiation oncology. The effort was put in by the leadership of Clinical Affairs and Quality Council (CAQC) of ASTRO , including PhD, FASTRO, Chair Mr. Todd Pawlicki; MD, Vice-chair Mr. Benjamin Smith; MD, MBA, FASTRO, Former Chair, Mr. James A. Hayman; and Chair of Steering Committee CAQC, PhD. ASTRO ,Mr. Eric Ford, including a video and guide with queries regarding radiation safety.

In 2012, a major part of ASTRO’s Target safety initiative, was updated. Temporarily, a national system was launched by ASTRO for reporting of safety event and shared learning (RO-ILS: Radiation Oncology Incident Learning System®) and a brief program emphasizing on quality improvement (Accreditation Program for Excellence/APEx®). The latest update includes information gained from these initiatives, as well as enhanced measures for radiation and certifications of dosimetry and radiation oncology.

Although Safety is No Accident specifies how practitioners can utilize its suggestions, the major emphasis continues to be on practices applicable worldwide across technologies and scenarios for example quick and thorough report of events related to security and maintenance of open line communication.

In the introduction, Dr. Pawlicki, Dr. Hayman, Dr. Smith and Dr. Ford discuss that: “Over the next five years, it is likely that emerging technologies will continue to become part of routine practice and result in new unexpected challenges to quality and safety.” They further write that: “Going forward, we need to take what we have learned about quality and safety, combine it with the most effective technologies and activities such as automation, simplification and standardization, and incorporate them into a continuous quality improvement cycle to give our patients what they deserve, the best care possible.”