MO-G-BRE-08: Taxonomy of Corrective Actions in Radiotherapy




Various causal taxonomies have been developed for healthcare incidents and for radiation therapy in particular. The causal analysis of incidents leads to corrective actions which can also be organized into a taxonomy. Such a corrective action classification system would provide information about the situational context, the action type, and the leverage of the action in order to detect patterns in the corrective actions frequently employed in radiation therapy. It would also provide practical guidance to the radiation therapy community for determining the appropriateness and potential effectiveness of proposed corrective actions.


A review of causal analysis reports and corrective action plans was conducted using the following sources: US NRC medical event reports, IAEA reports, ROSIS submissions, US Veterans Health Administration reports, and singleincident report sources. The corrective actions presented in the published sources were then mapped onto four corrective action taxonomy prototypes: role-based, safety-context-based, responsibility-based, and hierarchy of hazard control. The resulting corrective action taxonomy was then validated through use of the published sources.


The responsibility-based taxonomy and hierarchy of hazard taxonomy provided more intuitive and sensible categories than the role-based taxonomy or the safety-context taxonomy. The most frequent corrective actions were added safety barriers, training, process standardization, and development of a quality improvement program where one was lacking.


Published corrective action statements in radiation therapy emphasize what to do more so than whom the recipient is or which process step is affected. The hierarchy of hazard taxonomy provides a suitable framework for radiation therapy and has the advantage of providing insight into the likelihood that a particular corrective action will mitigate the recurrence of the error it was meant to correct. This information would be useful to medical center administration, safety personnel, and regulators who must assess the projected efficacy of corrective actions.

Derek Brown is a director of TreatSafely, LLC.