Does compliance to patient safety tasks improve and sustain when radiotherapy treatment processes are standardized?

P.A.M. Simons*, R. Houben, J. Benders, M. Pijls-Johannesma, D. Vandijck, W. Marneffe, H. Backes, S. Groothuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


PURPOSE: To realize safe radiotherapy treatment, processes must be stabilized. Standard operating procedures (SOP's) were expected to stabilize the treatment process and perceived task importance would increase sustainability in compliance. This paper presents the effects on compliance to safety related tasks of a process redesign based on lean principles. METHOD: Compliance to patient safety tasks was measured by video recording of actual radiation treatment, before (T0), directly after (T1) and 1.5 years after (T2) a process redesign. Additionally, technologists were surveyed on perceived task importance and reported incidents were collected for three half-year periods between 2007 and 2009. RESULTS: Compliance to four out of eleven tasks increased at T1, of which improvements on three sustained (T2). Perceived importance of tasks strongly correlated (0.82) to compliance rates at T2. The two tasks, perceived as least important, presented low base-line compliance, improved (T1), but relapsed at T2. The reported near misses (patient-level not reached) on accelerators increased (P < 0.001) from 144 (2007) to 535 (2009), while the reported misses (patient-level reached) remained constant. CONCLUSIONS: Compliance to specific tasks increased after introducing SOP's and improvements sustained after 1.5 years, indicating increased stability. Perceived importance of tasks correlated positively to compliance and sustainability. Raising the perception of task importance is thus crucial to increase compliance. The redesign resulted in increased willingness to report incidents, creating opportunities for patient safety improvement in radiotherapy treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-465
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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