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Journal of Radiation Oncology

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 177–183 | Cite as

Whiteboard patient tracking system improves radiation oncology treatment planning workflow

  • Christopher Freese
  • Neil Forster
  • Brittany Prater
  • Meredith Amlung
  • Michael Lamba
  • Vinita TakiarEmail author
Original Research
  • 10 Downloads

Abstract

Objective

As care delivery becomes ever more complex, and physicians and health care systems face increasing demands, improved efficiency within radiation oncology departments is essential. The workflow required for quality radiation treatment delivery necessitates detailed communication between multiple specialized team members and emerging technologies, sometimes at different locations. In this study, we compare the time required for completion of several components of this process, before and after whiteboard implementation, hypothesizing that whiteboard usage would decrease the time required to complete the designated task, thereby improving workflow.

Methods

We retrospectively reviewed dosimetric workflow data from 578 patients treated between January 2015 and January 2017 (320 pre- and 258 post-whiteboard). The whiteboard system cataloged various patient clinical factors as well as workflow metrics. Departmental workflow was then examined and time from simulation date to contour approval, plan approval, and start date of the prescribed therapy were compared. Statistical analyses were performed using Mann-Whitney tests or paired t tests.

Results

There was a 17% reduction in the time from simulation to contour approval, 3.0 to 2.5 days, respectively (p = 0.007). There was also a 24% reduction in the time from simulation to plan approval, 6.3 to 4.8 days (p < 0.001). On subset analysis by individual disease site, head and neck cancer as well as lung cancer cases showed statistical improvement in the time from simulation to plan approval. Two of the three physicians evaluated demonstrated a statistical improvement in the time from simulation to plan approval. Physician 1 improved from 6.9 to 5.5 days (p = 0.001) and physician 3 from 8.7 to 8.3 days (p = 0.002).

Conclusions

Whiteboard implementation resulted in a significant decrease in time from CT simulation date to contour approval and plan approval. When used effectively, an automated whiteboard system facilitates improved workflow.

Keywords

Whiteboard Workflow Physics Dosimetry Radiation planning 

Notes

Acknowledgements

A special thanks to Walter Niesz, Senior IT Systems Analyst, UC Physicians, for his assistance in development, implementation, and support for the whiteboard and to Rahul Veldurthi for the helpful feedback on the final manuscript. We also would like to thank Dr. Roman Jandarov, assistant professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics in the Department of Environmental Health at the University of Cincinnati, for his assistance with our statistical analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Funding

No funding was provided for this study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

13566_2019_385_MOESM1_ESM.docx (123 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 123 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Freese
    • 1
  • Neil Forster
    • 1
  • Brittany Prater
    • 1
  • Meredith Amlung
    • 1
  • Michael Lamba
    • 1
  • Vinita Takiar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Radiation Oncology, Barrett Cancer CenterUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA

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