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Miami meeting on radiation therapy targets patient safety
Date:6/24/2010

tors, hospital administrators, and patient advocacy groups may play in finding new ways of improving the safe delivery of radiation in the future.

"We are bringing together world experts and team members at the point-of-care in a unique program," says William Hendee, Ph.D., a co-organizer of the meeting. "We look forward to an open, transparent discussion of everything that happens from when a patient is first diagnosed until the patient has completed treatment to look for ways to improve."

The delivery of radiation therapy has evolved into a complex, technologically-sophisticated, computer driven process over the last few decades, Hendee says. This is generally a boon for people with cancer, says Herman, because it allows doctors and treatment teams to fight cancer using sophisticated new equipment and methods that improve cure rates and reduce side effects.

At the same time, mistakes in using this complex technology, along with human errors in general, may lead to underdoses, overdoses, and misaligned exposures. While rare, the results of technical failures and human errors can harm the patient.

The management of the delivery of radiation therapy requires the careful coordination of teams of professionals who interact with the complex technology and with each other to directly provide safe and effective patient care. Away from the clinic, scientists, engineers, government regulators, and patient advocates can all play roles in improving safety as well.

The meeting in Miami brings all of these different groups to the same table. The goal will be to openly discuss and find ways to continue to improve the performance and patient safety in the radiation therapy process.

Possible solutions may include new devices, software, and other technological improvements; automatic early warning systems that recognize unintended radiation doses immediately; and process improvements that enhance safety by eliminating human e
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Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
858-775-4080
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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