Human Error Bowtie Analysis to Enhance Patient Safety in Radiation Oncology.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

PURPOSE: Ensuring safety within RT is of paramount importance. To further support and augment patient safety efforts, the purpose of this research was to test and refine a robust methodology for analyzing human errors that defeat individual controls within RT quality assurance (QA) programs. METHODS: The method proposed for performing Bowtie Analysis (BTA) was based on training and recommendations from practitioners in the field of Human Factors and Ergonomics practice. Multidisciplinary meetings to iteratively develop BTA focused on incorrect site setup instructions was conducted. RESULTS: From November 2015 to February 2017, we had 12 reported incidents related to site setup notes that could have led to site setup errors. Based on this data, we conducted five BTA analyses related to incorrect site setup instructions. None of the individual controls within our QA program designed to check for potential errors with site setup instructions met the level of robustness to be classified as key safeguards or barriers. CONCLUSIONS: The relatively low number of incidents causing patient harm has led us to typically assume that we have sufficient and effective controls in place to prevent serious human errors from leading to severe patient consequences. Based on our BTA, we question how well we truly understand the details of our individual controls. To meet the level of safety achieved by high reliability organizations (HROs), we need to better ensure that our controls are as reliable and robust as we assume.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mullins, BT; McGurk, R; McLeod, RW; Lindsay, D; Amos, A; Gu, D; Chera, BS; Marks, L; Das, S; Mazur, L

Published Date

  • November 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 465 - 478

PubMed ID

  • 31323384

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-8519

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.prro.2019.06.022


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States