Workflow enhancement (WE) improves safety in radiation oncology: Putting the we and team together

Samuel T. Chao, Tim Meier, Brian Hugebeck, Chandana A. Reddy, Andrew Godley, Matt Kolar, John H. Suh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose To review the impact of a workflow enhancement (WE) team in reducing treatment errors that reach patients within radiation oncology. Methods and Materials It was determined that flaws in our workflow and processes resulted in errors reaching the patient. The process improvement team (PIT) was developed in 2010 to reduce errors and was later modified in 2012 into the current WE team. Workflow issues and solutions were discussed in PIT and WE team meetings. Due to tensions within PIT that resulted in employee dissatisfaction, there was a 6-month hiatus between the end of PIT and initiation of the renamed/redesigned WE team. In addition to the PIT/WE team forms, the department had separate incident forms to document treatment errors reaching the patient. These incident forms are rapidly reviewed and monitored by our departmental and institutional quality and safety groups, reflecting how seriously these forms are treated. The number of these incident forms was compared before and after instituting the WE team. Results When PIT was disbanded, a number of errors seemed to occur in succession, requiring reinstitution and redesign of this team, rebranded the WE team. Interestingly, the number of incident forms per patient visits did not change when comparing 6 months during the PIT, 6 months during the hiatus, and the first 6 months after instituting the WE team (P=.85). However, 6 to 12 months after instituting the WE team, the number of incident forms per patient visits decreased (P=.028). After the WE team, employee satisfaction and commitment to quality increased as demonstrated by Gallup surveys, suggesting a correlation to the WE team. Conclusions A team focused on addressing workflow and improving processes can reduce the number of errors reaching the patient. Time is necessary before a reduction in errors reaching patients will be seen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-772
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Volume89
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 15 2014
Externally publishedYes

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Radiation Oncology
Workflow
safety
Safety
augmentation
radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Workflow enhancement (WE) improves safety in radiation oncology : Putting the we and team together. / Chao, Samuel T.; Meier, Tim; Hugebeck, Brian; Reddy, Chandana A.; Godley, Andrew; Kolar, Matt; Suh, John H.

In: International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, Vol. 89, No. 4, 15.07.2014, p. 765-772.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Chao, Samuel T. ; Meier, Tim ; Hugebeck, Brian ; Reddy, Chandana A. ; Godley, Andrew ; Kolar, Matt ; Suh, John H. / Workflow enhancement (WE) improves safety in radiation oncology : Putting the we and team together. In: International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics. 2014 ; Vol. 89, No. 4. pp. 765-772.
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