Evaluation of time, attendance of medical staff and resources for radiotherapy in pediatric and adolescent patients
A quality control study was carried out by the EORTC Cooperative Group of Radiotherapy. From January 1982 to December 1984, 17 institutions were visited by a group of "experts" in radiotherapy and radiation physics. The evaluation included three steps: a comparison of megavoltage units, technical and staff environment, and data present in clinical and radiotherapy charts for each center; radiation physics calibration of photon and electron beams; and radiation physics measurements on a stimulated clinical case using an Alderson Rando anatomical phantom. This paper presents the results of Part 1. The results of Parts 2 and 3 will be analyzed in separate papers. Large variations were observed in the number of patients treated per year, per radiotherapist, per radiation physicist and per technician. On average, 400 patients were treated per year per megavoltage unit, but 8/17 centers treated more than 500 patients per unit per year. The number of simulators was suboptimal in 12/17 centers. These observations were summarized by a workload and staff index, and this index shows that in 5/17 centers major problems are present which make it difficult to comply with all the requirements of EORTC protocols. The quality of work-up regarding tumor extension was considered to be satisfactory in all centers. Dental care in patients irradiated to the head and neck was not well organized in 5/17 centers. Interaction between CT scan and dosimetry treatment planning could be improved in most centers and this should be one of the primary objectives of future quality control.