University of Wisconsin–Madison

Clinical Operations Research

The following are descriptions of several clinical operations research projects that our medical physicists are currently pursuing:

Clinical Impact of Treatment Delivery Errors in Radiotherapy (Geurts)

The goals of this work are to produce clear guidelines on uncertainty impacts, to support clinical decisions on robust treatment methods, to aid in the optimization of verification approaches and to produce an optimized error detection framework for clinical implementation. This project is funded by the Cancer Council NSW in collaboration with the University of Sydney. Delivery errors are being studied in a range of advanced radiotherapy techniques for head and neck cancers, prostate cancers and SBRT treatments of lung and liver cancers. For each cancer type and treatment method, random and systematic sources and magnitudes of likely delivery errors are modeled and evaluated in terms of their clinical impact on treatment.

As an example, the plots below illustrate the dosimetric impact of different TomoTherapy® delivery errors on the target and critical structure doses for a sample head and neck plan. By quantifying the level of impact, effect-driven quality assurance recommendations can be established.