Feature | January 13, 2015

Survey Indicates Positive Experience, Desire for More Guidelines to Improve Peer Review Process

Study analyzes results of peer review survey conducted by ASTRO in 2013

January 13, 2015 — A 2013 survey of radiation oncologists indicates that they would like more formal recommendations and guidance in order to improve the peer review process, according to a study published in the January-February 2015 issue of Practical Radiation Oncology (PRO), the clinical practice journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).  

The study, “Practice patterns for peer review in radiation oncology,” analyzed the results of a radiation oncology-specific, peer review survey conducted by ASTRO in 2013. The goal of the survey was to describe the frequency and content of peer review activities; to determine which peer review functions directly evaluate medical decision-making and technical expertise; to conduct an exploratory analysis of factors and demographics that impact peer review and to determine ASTRO’s physician members’ interest in additional guidance on peer review.

Designed by ASTRO’s Health Services Research Committee, the survey included eight demographic and 25 peer or practice review questions. The survey was distributed to all of ASTRO’s physician members and members-in-training worldwide (n=5,674). Of the 572 respondents, 93 percent (532) were practicing radiation oncologists and 7 percent (40) were residents, trainees or other. The respondents were divided evenly between academic and private practices or other. Seventy-eight percent (446) of respondents were from the United States; 5 percent (29) were from Canada and 17 percent (97) were from other countries.

Eighty-three percent (475) of respondents reported being involved in peer review and 75 percent (435) of respondents were comfortable with their practice’s current peer review program. Eleven percent (63) of respondents reported being uncomfortable with their program and 6 percent (40) responded that their working environment did not encourage peer review.

Respondents were asked when peer review was conducted at their institution. The results demonstrated that respondents were involved in peer review either during the first week of treatment or prior to initiation of treatment. Eighty-three percent (475) performed peer review during the first week of radiation therapy treatment and 65 percent (372) were involved in peer review prior to the beginning of treatment, also known as prospective peer review.

Respondents were asked what, if any, changes to patient case management were made as a result of peer review. Eighty-seven percent (498) of respondents made changes to fractionation; 82 percent (469) made adjustments to dose; 70 percent (400) altered contouring and 49 percent (280) altered the treatment intent. Physicians reported that 7 to 10 percent of patient cases were changed as a result of the peer review process.

Finally, respondents were asked if they supported the development of additional recommendations and guidance on peer review. Seventy-four percent (423) of respondents expressed interest in formal guidelines and recommendations from ASTRO to strengthen and improve the peer review process.

“Peer review is an important quality assurance process that facilitates physicians in constructively evaluating each other’s work, and our survey focused on medical decision making and technical expertise,” said David J. Hoopes, M.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the Joint Radiation Oncology Center at Travis Air Force Base in Travis, California. “This study confirms that peer review is a common practice, however, there is wide variation in how it is performed. Additional research and evaluation of peer review are necessary to provide formal recommendations and guidance, including tools and workflow, to improve peer review processes, which will ultimately improve the efficacy and safety of radiation therapy for our patients.”

For more information: www.astro.org

 

 

Related Content

MedStar Georgetown Proton Center Selects RayStation for Treatment Planning
News | Treatment Planning | August 17, 2017
August 17, 2017 — The proton center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital will utilize RayStation for planning on
DOSIsoft Releases ISOgray Proton Therapy Treatment Planning System
Technology | Treatment Planning | August 15, 2017
DOSIsoft SA announced the official release, with CE marking, of ISOgray Treatment Planning System (TPS) release 4.3 for...
First Radixact Results Presented at AAPM 2017
News | Radiation Therapy | August 10, 2017
Accuray Inc. announced that the first studies validating the benefits of the Radixact System were presented at the 59th...
Clinical Data Supports Use of Xoft System for Endometrial Cancer
News | Brachytherapy Systems | August 03, 2017
Researchers presented clinical data supporting use of the Xoft Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy (eBx) System for the...
Aktina’s interchangeable cones are lightweight and extremely accurate
News | Radiation Therapy | August 02, 2017
Aktina Medical announced a collaboration with Philips Medical Systems and Elekta Instruments for SRS interlocking at...
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | July 31, 2017
Elekta’s magnetic resonance radiation therapy (MR/RT) system will be the subject of 21 abstracts at the 59th American...
Accuray Receives 510(k) Clearance for iDMS Data Management System
Technology | Oncology Information Management Systems (OIMS) | July 31, 2017
July 31, 2017 — Accuray Inc. announced it has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S.
more healthcare providers and patients are choosing options such as Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery
News | Radiation Therapy | July 31, 2017
Each year, up to 650,000 people who were previously diagnosed with various forms of cancer will develop brain...
Overlay Init