The impact of advanced technologies on treatment deviations in radiation treatment delivery.
PURPOSE: To assess the impact of new technologies on deviation rates in radiation therapy (RT). METHODS AND MATERIALS: Treatment delivery deviations in RT were prospectively monitored during a time of technology upgrade. In January 2003, our department had three accelerators, none with "modern" technologies (e.g., without multileaf collimators [MLC]). In 2003 to 2004, we upgraded to five new accelerators, four with MLC, and associated advanced capabilities. The deviation rates among patients treated on "high-technology" versus "low-technology" machines (defined as those with vs. without MLC) were compared over time using the two-tailed Fisher's exact test. RESULTS: In 2003, there was no significant difference between the deviation rate in the "high-technology" versus "low-technology" groups (0.16% vs. 0.11%, p = 0.45). In 2005 to 2006, the deviation rate for the "high-technology" groups was lower than the "low-technology" (0.083% vs. 0.21%, p = 0.009). This difference was caused by a decline in deviations on the "high-technology" machines over time (p = 0.053), as well as an unexpected trend toward an increase in deviations over time on the "low-technology" machines (p = 0.15). CONCLUSIONS: Advances in RT delivery systems appear to reduce the rate of treatment deviations. Deviation rates on "high-technology" machines with MLC decline over time, suggesting a learning curve after the introduction of new technologies. Associated with the adoption of "high-technology" was an unexpected increase in the deviation rate with "low-technology" approaches, which may reflect an over-reliance on tools inherent to "high-technology" machines. With the introduction of new technologies, continued diligence is needed to ensure that staff remain proficient with "low-technology" approaches.
Marks, LB; Light, KL; Hubbs, JL; Georgas, DL; Jones, EL; Wright, MC; Willett, CG; Yin, FF
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