Susan Richardson
Medical Physicist, Swedish Cancer Institute

Physicists are often honed in on performing quality-related tasks and quantitative, measurable safety metrics; but the mental acuity and mental status of the brachytherapy team is left unchecked. People are assumed to be bringing their “A-game” at all times, but is that really possible? What can we do as brachytherapy practitioners to keep ourselves alert and protect our patients? Do we have the right tools in our bag of patient safety tricks? How do the quality assurance tasks we perform every day really correlate with patient safety? How many tasks are performed without optimizing the efficiency and efficacy? Are the Quality Assessments and Quality Control procedures executed really doing what we think they are?

Physicists are also juxtaposed between the need to perform required patient safety tasks (e.g. plan checks) and the need to treat a patient in a timely fashion. The National Cancer Institute in the United States has made recommendations for clinical trial participants to tailor QA and the intensity of the QA to achieve maximum efficiencies considering the objectives of the clinical trial. AAPM TG-100 describes a quality management methodology to help identify more effective and efficient ways to enhance safety and quality. This talk will focus on how physicists can use these ideals to tailor their programs for maximum efficiency and efficacy. It will also emphasize the need to expect the unexpected.

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