Enhancing clinical effectiveness of pre-radiotherapy workflow by using multidisciplinary-cooperating e-control and e-alerts: A SQUIRE-compliant quality-improving study

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Abstract

Radiotherapy (RT) is useful in managing cancer diseases. In clinical practice, early initiation of RT is crucial for enhancing tumor control. But, delivering precise RT requires a series of pre-RT working processes in a tight staff-cooperation manner. In this regard, using information system to conduct e-control and e-alerts has been suggested to improve practice effectiveness; however, this effect is not well defined in a real-world RT setting.

We designed an information system to perform e-control and e-alerts for the whole process of pre-RT workflow to shorten processing time, to improve overall staff satisfaction, and to enhance working confidence.

A quality-improving study conducted in a large RT center.

Externally validated data were retrospectively analyzed for comparison before (from Sep. 2012 to Dec. 2012, n = 223) and after (from Sep. 2013 to Dec. 2013, n = 240) implementation of pre-RT e-control and e-alerts.

Applying the e-control with delay-working e-alerts in pre-RT workflow was the main intervention.

Nine workstations were identified in pre-RT workflow. The primary outcome measure was the processing time in each pre-RT workstations before and after implementing the e-control and e-alerts. Secondary measures were staff-working confidence and near-missing cases during the process of pre-RT workflow.

After implementing e-control, overall processing time of pre-RT workflow was shortened from 12.2 days to 8.9 days (P < .001). Follow-up data (till Jul. 2016) showed a durable effect of 9.2 days, being still below the predefined threshold of <10 days.

Using a multidisciplinary-cooperating information system is useful to conduct e-control and e-alerts in the whole process of pre-RT workflow. Clinical effectiveness, staff satisfaction, and working confidence are able to be enhanced obviously.

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