Nuclear Medicine & Radiation Therapy

ISSN: 2155-9619

Open Access

Quality Improvement in External Radiation Therapy Using a Departmental Incident Reporting System and Multidisciplinary Team Efforts


Seiichi Ota, Hajime Monzen, Iori Sumida, Yasuo Yoshioka, Ryoko Kado, Shinichi Inoue, Kazuhiko Ogawa and Yasumasa Nishimura

Purpose: Incidents in radiation therapy occur due to the complex process, non-automated procedures, and miscommunication. We performed a prospective study to reduce the incidence rate during 4 years of external radiation therapy using incident-reporting system with multidisciplinary team (MDT) efforts.

Methods: Incidents from May 2009 to April 2013 were recorded, blame-free and voluntarily. The incidents involved errors which were unintended, whether they caused patient harm or not. Cause analysis of the incidents and interventions were performed through an MDT meeting in which all staff participated, including radiation oncologists, medical physicists, nurses, and radiation technologists. Our interventions included continuous feedback and improvements with minimized unnecessary stress.

Results: In total, 49 actual incidents among 2,350 radiation therapy courses were noted during the 4 years. The actual incidents occurred most frequently during treatment planning (74%, 36/49), followed by treatment delivery (20%, 10/49). Of the 49 actual incidents, 59%, 16%, 12%, 8%, 2%, 2% incidents were caused by failure to follow procedures or policies, incomplete knowledge, miscommunication, operation errors, work environment, and incorrect supervision, respectively. The actual incident rates, based on the number of treatment courses, were 4%, 2%, 1%, and 1% in the first, second, third, and fourth years, respectively. We found a significant decrease in the actual incident rate during the third and fourth years compared with the first year (p<0.01).

Conclusions: The frequency of incidents during radiation therapy was reduced using a voluntary incident reporting system and the efforts of a MDT.


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