Room: Exhibit Hall
Purpose: To discuss the adaptation process of a radiation therapy medical physicist transitioning into an existing facility and to recommend the list and time frame for immediate quality assurance (QA) tasks.
Methods: The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) provides guidelines and recommendation for commissioning and periodic QA. However, there is limited physics guidance for transitioning into an existing radiation oncology facility in the acceptance of existing beam data, equipment, and software systems. The acceptance can vary drastically amongst physicists from recommissioning the beam data to utilizing them without further review. From our recent experience of adopting a community-based facility with minimal overlap between physicists, we have created a robust task list and timeline to complete within the first month. The goal is to streamline and standardize the QA tasks to ensure quality and safety.
Results: Within the first days at the facility, we discovered that reviewing the absolute calibration, spot-checking the treatment planning data, and performing preliminary machine check were crucial. Additional tasks of performing in-phantom measurements, validating the secondary check software and HU curve, recalibrating necessary QA devices, validating the inventory of equipment and their calibration, and reviewing all QA procedures were completed within the first month. Further ongoing effort has been made to reinforce QA procedures and address pre-existing deficiencies. Although completing each task in a fully functioning clinic was challenging, the new physicist quickly became knowledgeable in the existing processes, was prepared to make informed clinical decisions, eliminated pre-existing errors and established a more robust QA program.
Conclusion: We developed a set of tasks and timeline that could assist any qualified physicist who transitions into an existing clinical facility. This schema provides physics guidelines to create a standardized and efficient program in a realistic time frame.