Current quality assurance and quality management guidelines provided by various professional organizations are prescriptive in nature, focusing principally on performance characteristics of planning and delivery devices. However, published analyses of events in radiation therapy show that most events are often caused by flaws in clinical processes rather than by device failures. This suggests the need for the development of a quality management program that is based on integrated approaches to process and equipment quality assurance. Industrial engineers have developed various risk assessment tools that are used to identify and eliminate potential failures from a system or a process before a failure impacts a customer. These tools include, but are not limited to, process mapping, failure modes and effects analysis, fault tree analysis. Task Group 100 of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine has developed these tools and used them to formulate an example risk-based quality management program for intensity-modulated radiotherapy. This is a prospective risk assessment approach that analyzes potential error pathways inherent in a clinical process and then ranks them according to relative risk, typically before implementation, followed by the design of a new process or modification of the existing process. Appropriate controls are then put in place to ensure that failures are less likely to occur and, if they do, they will more likely be detected before they propagate through the process, compromising treatment outcome and causing harm to the patient. Such a prospective approach forms the basis of the work of Task Group 100 that has recently been approved by the AAPM. This session will be devoted to a discussion of these tools and practical examples of how these tools can be used in a given radiotherapy clinic to develop a risk based quality management program.
- 1.Learn how to design a process map for a radiotherapy process
- 2.Learn how to perform failure modes and effects analysis analysis for a given process
- 3.Learn what fault trees are all about
- 4.Learn how to design a quality management program based upon the information obtained from process mapping, failure modes and effects analysis and fault tree analysis.
Dunscombe: Director, TreatSafely, LLC and Center for the Assessment of Radiological Sciences; Consultant to IAEA and Varian
Thomadsen: President, Center for the Assessment of Radiological Sciences
Palta: Vice President of the Center for the Assessment of Radiological Sciences