The impact of advancing the standard of care in radiotherapy on operational treatment resources

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Journal of applied clinical medical physics


PURPOSE: To demonstrate the impact of implementing hypofractionated prescription regimens and advanced treatment techniques on institutional operational hours and radiotherapy personnel resources in a multi-institutional setting. The study may be used to describe the impact of advancing the standard of care with modern radiotherapy techniques on patient and staff resources.

METHODS: This study uses radiation therapy data extracted from the radiotherapy information system from two tertiary care, university-affiliated cancer centers from 2012 to 2021. Across all patients in the analysis, the average fraction number for curative and palliative patients was reported each year in the decade. Also, the institutional operational treatment hours are reported for both centers. A sub-analysis for curative intent breast and lung radiotherapy patients was performed to contextualize the impact of changes to imaging, motion management, and treatment technique.

RESULTS: From 2012 to 2021, Center 1 had 42 214 patient plans and Center 2 had 43 252 patient plans included in the analysis. Averaged over both centers across the decade, the average fraction number per patient decreased from 6.9 to 5.2 (25%) and 21.8 to 17.2 (21%) for palliative and curative patients, respectively. The operational treatment hours for both institutions increased from 8 h 15 min to 9 h 45 min (18%), despite a patient population increase of 45%.

CONCLUSION: The clinical implementation of hypofractionated treatment regimens has successfully reduced the radiotherapy workload and operational treatment hours required to treat patients. This analysis describes the impact of changes to the standard of care on institutional resources.

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ePub ahead of print

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