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Patient safety highlights American Association of Physicists in Medicine
Date:7/15/2010

0 seconds, somebody in the United States is diagnosed with cancer, and each year hundreds of thousands of people will discuss possible next steps with their doctors and decide to undergo treatment with radiation therapy. This overarching decision, once reached, sets the wheels in motion for the treatment team, as doctors, nurses, medical physicists, technologists, and other specialists work together to devise and carry out the best treatment plan possible for each patient. That's how it's supposed to work.

Now a team of medical physicists at Washington University School of Medicine has developed a new web-based infrastructure that they say will enhance the current quality management paradigm and help to improve safety for patients by collecting, analyzing, and interpreting all the data related to the treatment. This includes data on machine performance, software performance, and more in one centralized database that can be accessed anywhere at any time during the treatment process. They call this system Quality Assurance Information System (QAIS). Currently, patient records in many hospitals and clinics often reside partly on paper and partly electronically -- and sometimes on multiple machines that can't access one another.

"The idea is to make the whole system electronic," explains Washington University medical physicist Dharanipathy Rangaraj, who will describe the new system today at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) in Philadelphia. "The electronic environment for QA data would facilitate solving several challenges in quality assurance in radiation therapy," he says.

Rangaraj and his colleagues envision that their new system QAIS will make many things easier by facilitating opportunities to develop tools such as an automated electronic chart plan checking (EcCk) tool, an automated machine log file analysis tool (DynaQA) for every treated beam, an automated QA plan generation tool to r
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Contact: Jason Bardi
jbardi@gmail.com
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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