Harmonizing radiotherapy quality and safety

Learn more about CPQR’s role in the quality and safety of radiation therapy

This presentation details The Canadian Partnership for Quality Radiotherapy’s (CPQR’s) role in harmonizing safety and quality for radiation therapy in Canada.

The presentation highlights the following facts:

  • More than 40 per cent of cancer cases will require radiotherapy.
  • There are 42 radiation treatment centres in Canada.
  • 100 000 courses of radiotherapy are given annually.

The CPQR started in July 2010 between the Partnership and Canadian representatives from radiation oncology, medical physics and radiation therapy. The CPQR group works to develop guidance documents for the safe, high-quality delivery of radiation therapy, and to evaluate and report on the therapy’s quality.

The CPQR’s aims are to:

  • Give guidance about quality assurance for Canadian radiation therapy programs to make sure the programs are consistent and high quality.
  • Give guidance about technical quality control to make sure the technology and equipment used for radiation therapy is safe and used as planned.
  • Develop a national system for reporting radiation therapy incidents to make sure that cancer centres across Canada can learn from each other and avoid mistakes.
  • Evaluate how radiation therapy is delivered to patients based on quality and safety.

As well, Peer Review in Radiation is a national quality initiative to increase peer review for radiation treatment planning. Peer review not only catches medical errors, it reduces variability, improves processes for departmental policy and treatment planning, and continues medical education.

While peer view in Ontario is growing, this initiative maps out a strategy to increase peer review in radiation across all centres in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and, ideally, across Canada. Recently, Cancer Care Ontario identified the proportion of peer review in radiation cases as an indicator of quality care.

This initiative identifies local facilitators that will lead the peer review process to improve the rates in lagging Ontario centres and in the new Alberta and BC centres. Rates of peer review and outcomes of the process will also be collected. Support from national organizations with strong quality mandates (CPQR, CARO and, potentially, Accreditation Canada) will help develop a Canada-wide culture in which peer review practices are critical to improve radiation oncology’s quality.

For more information about Peer Review in Radiation, contact the Cancer Care and Epidemiology Cancer Research Institute at Queen’s University.

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