Comprehensive Quality Management in Radiotherapy – Risk Management and Patient Safety

Atenas (Grecia)


The course is aimed at radiation oncologists, medical physicists, radiation technologists, quality managers and any other health professional interested in risk management and patient safety.

This course is part of a two year cycle on quality management in radiotherapy, consisting of two complementary modules:
•  Risk management and patient safety
•  Quality improvement and indicators.
Industrial and medical activities expose operators, patients and the general public to the risk of accidents that cause corporal or environmental damage (or both). Harm to operators is very uncommon in radiotherapy, but harm to patients has happened in the past and has had considerable press coverage in many European countries. These widely publicised accidents have focused the attention of both the radiotherapy house and the regulatory authorities on the appropriate preventive actions that could be taken to avoid their repetition.
Fortunately, accidents that actually result in harm to patients are rare. Conversely, small irregularities in the radiotherapy process are very frequent, many hundred a year in every department. A key to the understanding of the genesis of accidents is the fact that these small irregularities (called precursors), as benign as they seem to be when considered isolated, can mesh together to result in a fully developed accident. An accident is not the result of very uncommon irregularities, it is the coincidence of very common irregularities that unfortunately occur at a given point in time.


Though accidents are rare and, above all, difficult to prevent, this course however aims to identify their precursors. Actively working on these precursors (registration, description, classification), and working on improvements in the radiotherapy process (prevention) is an efficient way to greatly decrease the risk of accidents. In some European countries it is even mandatory to record and report on precursors.
In addition, the course will also discuss preventive analysis that can be done on any radiotherapy process, by trying to identify critical elements that need specific monitoring or quality controls (failure mode analysis).
An efficient incident recording system presupposes a good communication in the department. Elements of communication are therefore also discussed during the course with a final role play as an illustration.

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