Resource Allocations for Common Radiation Oncology Procedures.
Radiation Oncology is a complex, resource-intensive discipline. The complexity of the radiation oncology treatment process has increased significantly in recent years with the introduction of more advanced imaging, planning, and treatment delivery technology and enhanced use of multidisciplinary care paths. We conducted a multi-institutional study to estimate the average time by functional unit for a wide range of modern radiation oncology treatment regimens.
METHODS AND MATERIALS
Structured process mapping was performed for 24 treatment categories, and average time estimates for 6 functional groups were obtained for each process step through consultation with the full clinical team at each institution. Six geographically dispersed institutions participated in the study. Significant effort was invested in aggregate data analysis and clarification of assumptions.
The findings show significant variability in the resources expended for many treatment categories as well as the distribution of workload between functional units. Major factors in the variability include the rate of adoption of hypofractionation in external beam therapy, adoption of automation tools and standardization, and the transition to multimodality image-based planning in brachytherapy.
The data obtained from this study may be useful in designing institution-specific staffing models appropriate to the scope of radiation therapy services provided at each institution.