Quality in radiation oncology



A modern approach to quality was developed in the United States at Bell Telephone Laboratories during the first part of the 20th century. Over the years, those quality techniques have been adopted and extended by almost every industry. Medicine in general and radiation oncology in particular have been slow to adopt modern quality techniques. This work contains a brief description of the history of research on quality that led to the development of organization-wide quality programs such as Six Sigma. The aim is to discuss the current approach to quality in radiation oncology as well as where quality should be in the future. A strategy is suggested with the goal to provide a threshold improvement in quality over the next 10 years.