Improving Health Through Medical Physics

Report from the Work Group on Task Group Review Streamlining (WGTGRS)

Jean M. Moran, PhD | Ann Arbor, MI

AAPM Newsletter — Volume 43 No. 6 — November | December 2018

Improving the Task Group Review Process – One Improvement at a Time

In July of 2016, we kicked off a new working group to improve our review process of AAPM's task group reports. Reports continue to be valuable resources for our membership as well as the international medical physics community. Our group has been making a series of changes in our review process. These changes include sharing all comments and responses with all reviewers as a report goes through review, using a standard cover sheet which summarizes any controversial items from earlier reviews, experimenting with combining different stages of reviews to minimize the overall time, and decreasing the time between review cycles. Regular updates on our progress are shared with the Board of Directors.

One of the key changes has been a public comment period for AAPM members. We have piloted the public comment period for Task Group 275 on Strategies for Effective Physics Plan and Chart Review in Radiation Therapy and Task Group 178 on Gamma Stereotactic Radiosurgery Dosimetry and Quality Assurance. We appreciate the time spent by the Task Group chairs to incorporate the feedback in their revisions and we thank those members who took the time to comment on the report. The public comment period can provide critical feedback to the TG authors as well as to the parent committees which are responsible for the final reviews. In fact, a public comment period has been a staple of AAPM Medical Physics Practice Guidelines.

To improve the management of the review process, we are launching a Formal Report Management System (FRMS) to review AAPM reports once they reach the committee level (such as Imaging Physics Committee, Therapy Physics Committee, or the Clinical Practice Committee). The FRMS became possible once AAPM moved to a unified platform for our journals, Medical Physics and the Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics. Council and Committee leaders will be able to use the FRMS in numerous ways. By using the FRMS, we are able to have a service provide copy-editing and standardization of the format of reports. Those managing the reports will have a dashboard view of all submitted reports, be able to track the reviews, and will have a clear designation of final file versions which are required for votes. Finally, files will be able to be exported to Wiley to appear in one of the journals, as appropriate. Nancy Vazquez is our headquarters lead for this project.

These changes have been made possible thanks to the efforts of the WGTGRS, Science Council, Imaging Physics Committee and Therapy Physics Committee. We appreciate the patience and commitment of our TG chairs and members who are working with us as we pilot these changes to our process. We look forward to using these changes to improve the quality and the timeliness of reports that reach our membership.

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Comments (1)

Dr. McCollough

11-10-2018 14:37 PM

Thanks Jean for all of your efforts on the very important project!