Article Abstract

Identifying the non-addressed issues in Radiation Oncology—a preliminary opinion collection of radiation oncology community

Authors: Susovan Banerjee, Tejinder Kataria, Shikha Goyal, Shyam Singh Bisht, Deepak Gupta, Trinanjan Basu, Ashu Abhishek, Kushal Narang, Manoj Tayal, Iftekhar Ali, KP Karthick, Rajesh Thiyagarajan


Background: To understand the mutual professional relationship among the Radiation Oncologists (ROs) and the Medical Physicists (MPs), to identify the lacunae in the radiation planning workflow.
Methods: The copies of the questionnaire were sent 1,404 MPs and 1,836 ROs through a web based survey application. Similar situations were queried from both MPs and ROs to obtain their respective opinions and the responses were compared.
Results: The final analysis was done for 176 MPs and 180 ROs. When it comes to grading their peers, the ROs were happier with their counterparts and gave them relatively higher grade in their jobs. The ROs made more technical mistakes than their peers when giving final contours for planning and made changes to contours during plan evaluation as well. More than 50% of the times, MPs believed the doctors give tighter constraints than possible to achieve. About 44% of ROs and 22% of MPs complained that they are not made to understand the planning/clinical result part ever. About 10% MPs says their opinion was never sought for the choice of treatment modality. A minimum of 6% of ROs were never consulted during the planning procedure, 40% of physicians were consulted during the process of planning in 10–20% of cases. Only 25% and 30% of MPs believed they got adequate time for planning and QA respectively. Most people agreed that there was adequate number of ROs in the department. Most ROs and MPs thought that a combined planning and contouring station was necessary. The working relationship between the ROs and the MPs was good (not excellent). About 50% respondents were confident to get their kin treated (if required) in the department and another 30% people were confident about one specific counterpart. MPs were more inclined towards change of profession compared to ROs.
Conclusions: This study is a preliminary attempt to identify the issues that need to be addressed in radiation oncology joint workflow. The observations of this study is limited by small sample size, qualitative nature of questions used, and the heterogeneity of radiation oncology practices worldwide that merits region-based surveys.