A special edition of the American Society of Radiation Oncology journal Practical Radiation Oncology features a series of articles published by UNC School of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology faculty on strategies for maximizing patient safety and quality in the practice of radiation oncology.
UNC School of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology faculty were authors on a series of articles featured in a special quality and safety issue of the American Society of Radiation Oncology journal Practical Radiation Oncology.
Lawrence Marks, MD, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, a UNC Lineberger member, and the Dr. Sidney K. Simon Distinguished Professor of Oncology Research, was a guest editor of the September/October “Special Safety Issue” of the journal. He was also the lead author of the editorial “Learning to Appreciate Swiss Cheese and Other Industrial Engineering Concepts.” The article describes an industrial engineering concept that performance is influenced by a person’s surrounding work environment and organizational priorities, so work environments — including in radiation oncology — should be structured to minimize errors.
The edition also featured a commentary first authored by Bhishamjit S. Chera, MD, a UNC Lineberger member and an associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology. The article,” Applying Normal Accident Theory to radiation oncology: Failures are normal but patient harm can be prevented,” describes a system for analyzing failure potential in systems, and explains how it can be applied to the field of radiation oncology to better promote patient safety.
The issue also featured an article co-authored by multiple UNC faculty. Lukasz Mazur, PhD, an assistant professor in the radiation oncology department and an adjunct assistant professor in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, was first author of the article “The association between event learning and continuous quality improvement programs and culture of patient safety.” Marks was senior author of the paper, and Chera and other UNC Department of Radiation Oncology facutuy were co-authors. The article details the approach and results from the department’s own quality and safety program. They created a “good catch” program to encourage to report quality or safety concerns in real time, and they created a quality improvement program to address those events.