SU-D-BRD-04: The Impact of Automatic Radiation Therapy Plan Checks in Treatment Planning




The physics plan check verifies various aspects of a treatment plan after dosimetrists have finished creating the plan. Some errors in the plan which are caught by the physics check could be caught earlier in the departmental workflow. The purpose of this project was to evaluate a plan checking script that can be run within the treatment planning system (TPS) by the dosimetrists prior to plan approval and export to the record and verify system.


A script was created in the Pinnacle TPS to automatically check 15 aspects of a plan for clinical practice conformity. The script outputs a list of checks which the plan has passed and a list of checks which the plan has failed so that appropriate adjustments can be made. For this study, the script was run on a total of 108 plans: IMRT (46/108), VMAT (35/108) and SBRT (27/108).


Of the plans checked by the script, 77/108 (71%) failed at least one of the fifteen checks. IMRT plans resulted in more failed checks (91%) than VMAT (51%) or SBRT (63%), due to the high failure rate of an IMRT-specific check, which checks that no IMRT segment < 5 MU. The dose grid size and couch removal checks caught errors in 10% and 14% of all plans – errors that ultimately may have resulted in harm to the patient.


Approximately three-fourths of the plans being examined contain errors that could be caught by dosimetrists running an automated script embedded in the TPS. The results of this study will improve the departmental workflow by cutting down on the number of plans that, due to these types of errors, necessitate re-planning and re-approval of plans, increase dosimetrist and physician workload and, in urgent cases, inconvenience patients by causing treatment delays.