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A Radiation Medicine Program quality initiative that guarantees patients always get the prescribed treatment dose – and get it safely – has received Honourable Mention for Innovation from the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario.
The multidisciplinary Princess Margaret team, led by physicists Daniel Letourneau, Associate Head, Radiation Physics, and David Jaffray, Head, Radiation Physics, created a centralized technology platform to integrate in real-time all aspects of quality assurance related to radiation therapy equipment.
The team developed the tool they call AQUA – Automated Quality Assurance – to overcome the challenge of working with commercial quality assurance tools that were fragmented and also limited in scope.
"AQUA integrates the many techniques available for imaging and treatment, and provides a 'one‐stop-shop' for managing, analyzing, documenting and storing quality assurance tests and results in real-time," said Dr. Letourneau.
In addition, AQUA automates and integrates quality control tests, and all radiation therapy professionals can now run and review these tests, which frees up physicists to focus on other performance or compliance issues.
AQUA streamlines activities using workflow tools, automation and reporting mechanisms, which can be tailored to the installed base of existing and new tools and protocols. Any radiation therapy clinic can modify AQUA to their specific requirements.
"AQUA is an important invention to secure safety of radiation treatment delivery and has a great potential to improve the quality of radiotherapy worldwide," said Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz, Medical Director, Princess Margaret Cancer Program, and a radiation oncologist. "So, in addition to my congratulations, a big thank you to the team on behalf of the patients who undergo radiotherapy."
The annual quality and innovation awards, announced in November, are sponsored by the Quality Council of Ontario, Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Division of the Canadian Cancer Society.