July 11, 2014 — The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) announced the launch of RO-ILS, or Radiation Oncology Incident Learning System, a new, national patient safety initiative to facilitate safer and higher quality radiation oncology care.
Announced at a congressional briefing in B-339 of the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, and co-hosted by U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone and Ed Whitfield, ASTRO chair Colleen A.F. Lawton, M.D., FASTRO and John E. Bayouth, Ph.D., president of AAPM, unveiled the details of RO-ILS. Comments and perspective were also provided by Jeffrey Brady, M.D., MPH, director of the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
RO-ILS is an online portal that will allow radiation oncology centers to provide non-patient-specific data about the radiation therapy near-misses and safety incidents that have occurred at their facility in a secure, non-punitive environment. RO-ILS is the only medical specialty society-sponsored radiation oncology incident learning system within a federally recognized patient safety organization (PSO), Clarity PSO.
Data collected in RO-ILS will educate the radiation oncology community about how to improve safety and patient care. The platform will provide centers with the ability to track and analyze their data through a secure online interface. There are no fees for radiation therapy centers to participate in RO-ILS. RO-ILS can be used as a stand-alone incident learning system or as a complement to an institution’s existing system. A panel of experts chosen by ASTRO and AAPM, called the Radiation Oncology Healthcare Advisory Council (RO-HAC), will work with Clarity PSO, the independent PSO contracted to develop and to administer RO-ILS, to analyze the aggregate data and to inform radiation oncology safety procedures and processes, best practices, practice guidelines and/or recommendations.
“We are excited to partner with AAPM on the launch of RO-ILS, a centerpiece of ASTRO’s Target Safely initiative that demonstrates our commitment to safe and high-quality radiation oncology treatment,” said Lawton, chair of ASTRO’s board of directors. “The complex and highly specialized radiation care we deliver to cure cancers and to treat more than one million patients each year requires that we be continually vigilant to ensure the safety of our patients and our radiation oncology care team. We are grateful that Congress, through the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005, provides us with the necessary protections to use RO-ILS to gather invaluable patient safety information as we strive to provide the safest and highest quality radiation treatments. One error is too many, and learning from near-misses is crucial to averting errors.”
“We take great pride in our integral role in the radiation oncology treatment process, and we are pleased to have developed RO-ILS with our ASTRO partners to promote the safe delivery of radiation therapy treatments,” said Bayouth, president of AAPM. “RO-ILS is an exceptional endeavor that will provide enormous returns for our collective knowledge. The entire radiation oncology care team is devoted to the utmost accuracy and safety for the complex radiation therapy process. RO-ILS will support our achievement of these critical goals.”