AAPM Task Group 103 report on peer review in clinical radiation oncology physics.
ABSTRACT: This report provides guidelines for a peer review process between two clinical radiation oncology physicists. While the Task Group's work was primarily focused on ensuring timely and productive independent reviews for physicists in solo practice, these guidelines may also be appropriate for physicists in a group setting, particularly when dispersed over multiple separate clinic locations. To ensure that such reviews enable a collegial exchange of professional ideas and productive critique of the entire clinical physics program, the reviews should not be used as an employee evaluation instrument by the employer. Such use is neither intended nor supported by this Task Group. Detailed guidelines are presented on the minimum content of such reviews, as well as a recommended format for reporting the findings of a review. In consideration of the full schedules faced by most clinical physicists, the process outlined herein was designed to be completed in one working day.
Project description:The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) is a nonprofit professional society whose primary purposes are to advance the science, education, and professional practice of medical physics. The AAPM has more than 8,000 members and is the principal organization of medical physicists in the United States. The AAPM will periodically define new practice guidelines for medical physics practice to help advance the science of medical physics and to improve the quality of service to patients throughout the United States. Existing medical physics practice guidelines will be reviewed for revision or renewal, as appropriate, on their fifth anniversary or sooner. Each medical physics practice guideline represents a policy statement by the AAPM, has undergone a thorough consensus process in which it has been subjected to extensive review, and requires the approval of the Professional Council. The medical physics practice guidelines recognize that the safe and effective use of diagnostic and therapeutic radiology requires specific training, skills, and techniques, as described in each document. Reproduction or modification of the published practice guidelines and technical standards by those entities not providing these services is not authorized. The following terms are used in the AAPM practice guidelines: Must and Must Not: Used to indicate that adherence to the recommendation is considered necessary to conform to this practice guideline. Should and Should Not: Used to indicate a prudent practice to which exceptions may occasionally be made in appropriate circumstances. Approved by AAPM Professional Council 3-31-2017 and Executive Committee 4-4-2017.
Project description:To assess current education, practices, attitudes, and perceptions pertaining to ethics and professionalism in medical physics.A link to a web-based survey was distributed to the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) e-mail membership list, with a follow-up e-mail sent two weeks later. The survey included questions about ethics/professionalism education, direct personal knowledge of ethically questionable practices in clinical care, research, education (teaching and mentoring), and professionalism, respondents' assessment of their ability to address ethical/professional dilemmas, and demographics. For analysis, reports of unethical or ethically questionable practices or behaviors by approximately 40% or more of respondents were classified as "frequent."Partial or complete responses were received from 18% (1394/7708) of AAPM members. Overall, 60% (827/1377) of the respondents stated that they had not received ethics/professionalism education during their medical physics training. Respondents currently in training were more likely to state that they received instruction in ethics/professionalism (80%, 127/159) versus respondents who were post-training (35%, 401/1159). Respondents' preferred method of instruction in ethics/professionalism was structured periodic discussions involving both faculty and students/trainees. More than 90% (1271/1384) supported continuing education in ethics/professionalism and 75% (1043/1386) stated they would attend ethics/professionalism sessions at professional/scientific meetings. In the research setting, reports about ethically questionable authorship assignment were frequent (approximately 40%) whereas incidents of ethically questionable practices about human subjects protections were quite infrequent (5%). In the clinical setting, there was frequent recollection of incidents regarding lack of training, resources and skills, and error/incident reporting. In the educational setting, incidents of unethical or ethically questionable practices were only frequently recollected with respect to mentorship/guidance. With respect to professional conduct, favoritism, hostile work/learning environment, and maltreatment of subordinates and colleagues were frequently reported. A significantly larger proportion of women reported experiences with hostile work/learning environments, favoritism, poor mentorship, unfairness in educational settings, and concerns about student privacy and confidentiality.The survey found broad interest in ethics/professionalism topics and revealed that these topics were being integrated into the curriculum at many institutions. The incorporation of ethics and professionalism instruction into both graduate education and postgraduate training of medical physicists, and into their subsequent lifelong continuing education is important given the nontrivial number of medical physicists who had direct personal knowledge of unethical or ethically questionable incidents in clinical practice, research, education, and professionalism.
Project description:This report addresses uncertainties pertaining to brachytherapy single-source dosimetry preceding clinical use. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement (GUM) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Technical Note 1297 are taken as reference standards for uncertainty formalism. Uncertainties in using detectors to measure or utilizing Monte Carlo methods to estimate brachytherapy dose distributions are provided with discussion of the components intrinsic to the overall dosimetric assessment. Uncertainties provided are based on published observations and cited when available. The uncertainty propagation from the primary calibration standard through transfer to the clinic for air-kerma strength is covered first. Uncertainties in each of the brachytherapy dosimetry parameters of the TG-43 formalism are then explored, ending with transfer to the clinic and recommended approaches. Dosimetric uncertainties during treatment delivery are considered briefly but are not included in the detailed analysis. For low- and high-energy brachytherapy sources of low dose rate and high dose rate, a combined dosimetric uncertainty <5% (k=1) is estimated, which is consistent with prior literature estimates. Recommendations are provided for clinical medical physicists, dosimetry investigators, and source and treatment planning system manufacturers. These recommendations include the use of the GUM and NIST reports, a requirement of constancy of manufacturer source design, dosimetry investigator guidelines, provision of the lowest uncertainty for patient treatment dosimetry, and the establishment of an action level based on dosimetric uncertainty. These recommendations reflect the guidance of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and the Groupe Européen de Curiethérapie-European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (GEC-ESTRO) for their members and may also be used as guidance to manufacturers and regulatory agencies in developing good manufacturing practices for sources used in routine clinical treatments.
Project description:Purpose:To present a systematic approach to the reirradiation special medical physics consult (ReRT-SMPC) process. Materials and Methods:An in-house reirradiation committee of physicians and physicists was formed to develop a streamlined and well-documented approach to ReRT-SMPCs. Dosimetric goals and considerations for tissue repair were generated by the committee with input from the literature, clinical trial guidelines, and physician experience. Procedural workflow was also defined. Results:The total number of ReRT-SMPCs performed in our department in 2018 was 401, corresponding to 369 unique patients and 16% of the total number of patients receiving external beam radiation in our department that year. This constituted a large increase over the 183 ReRT-SMPCs performed in 2017. We have found that a standardized ReRT-SMPC workflow helps to safeguard patients, documents the clinical decision-making process for medical and legal purposes, and facilitates the peer-review process. The data being collected from each consult along with toxicity and outcomes data can be used to help inform future re-treatment guidelines. Conclusions:As the number of patients returning for additional courses of radiation continues to increase, a uniform method for the ReRT-SMPC workflow and analysis is a powerful tool for ensuring patient safety, understanding and predicting treatment toxicity, and refining reirradiation dosimetric limits.
Project description:PURPOSE:This report presents the methods and results of the Thoracic Auto-Segmentation Challenge organized at the 2017 Annual Meeting of American Association of Physicists in Medicine. The purpose of the challenge was to provide a benchmark dataset and platform for evaluating performance of autosegmentation methods of organs at risk (OARs) in thoracic CT images. METHODS:Sixty thoracic CT scans provided by three different institutions were separated into 36 training, 12 offline testing, and 12 online testing scans. Eleven participants completed the offline challenge, and seven completed the online challenge. The OARs were left and right lungs, heart, esophagus, and spinal cord. Clinical contours used for treatment planning were quality checked and edited to adhere to the RTOG 1106 contouring guidelines. Algorithms were evaluated using the Dice coefficient, Hausdorff distance, and mean surface distance. A consolidated score was computed by normalizing the metrics against interrater variability and averaging over all patients and structures. RESULTS:The interrater study revealed highest variability in Dice for the esophagus and spinal cord, and in surface distances for lungs and heart. Five out of seven algorithms that participated in the online challenge employed deep-learning methods. Although the top three participants using deep learning produced the best segmentation for all structures, there was no significant difference in the performance among them. The fourth place participant used a multi-atlas-based approach. The highest Dice scores were produced for lungs, with averages ranging from 0.95 to 0.98, while the lowest Dice scores were produced for esophagus, with a range of 0.55-0.72. CONCLUSION:The results of the challenge showed that the lungs and heart can be segmented fairly accurately by various algorithms, while deep-learning methods performed better on the esophagus. Our dataset together with the manual contours for all training cases continues to be available publicly as an ongoing benchmarking resource.
Project description:The Fully Integrated Real-time Seed Treatment (FIRST) system by Nucletron has been available in Europe since November 2001 and is being used more and more in Canada and the United States. Like the conventional transrectal ultrasound implant procedure, the FIRST system utilizes an ultrasound probe, needles, and brachytherapy seeds. However, this system is unique in that it (1) utilizes a low-dose-rate brachytherapy seed remote afterloader (the seedSelectron), (2) utilizes 3D image reconstruction acquired from electromechanically controlled, nonstepping rotation of the ultrasound probe, (3) integrates the control of a remote afterloader with electromechanical control of the ultrasound probe for integrating the clinical procedure into a single system, and (4) automates the transfer of planning information and seed delivery to improve quality assurance and radiation safety. This automated delivery system is specifically intended to address reproducibility and accuracy of seed positioning during implantation. The FIRST computer system includes two software environments: SPOT PRO and seedSelectron; both are used to facilitate treatment planning and brachytherapy seed implantation from beginning to completion of the entire procedure. In addition to these features, the system is reported to meet certain product specifications for seed delivery positioning accuracy and reproducibility, seed calibration accuracy and reliability, and brachytherapy dosimetry calculations. Consequently, a technical evaluation of the FIRST system was performed to determine adherence to manufacturer specifications and to the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Task Group Reports 43, 53, 56, 59, and 64 and recommendations of the American Brachytherapy Society (ABS). The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has recently added Licensing Guidance for the seedSelectron system under 10 CFR 35.1000. Adherence to licensing guidance is made by referencing applicable AAPM Task Group recommendations. In general, results of this evaluation indicated that the system met its claimed specifications as well as the applicable recommendations outlined in the AAPM and ABS reports.
Project description:<h4>Background and purpose</h4>The use of artificial intelligence (AI)/ machine learning (ML) applications in radiation oncology is emerging, however no clear guidelines on commissioning of ML-based applications exist. The purpose of this study was therefore to investigate the current use and needs to support implementation of ML-based applications in routine clinical practice.<h4>Materials and methods</h4>A survey was conducted among medical physicists in radiation oncology, consisting of four parts: clinical applications (1), model training, acceptance and commissioning (2), quality assurance (QA) in clinical practice and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (3), and need for education and guidelines (4). Survey answers of medical physicists of the same radiation oncology centre were treated as a separate unique responder in case reporting on different AI applications.<h4>Results</h4>In total, 213 medical physicists from 202 radiation oncology centres were included in the analysis. Sixty-nine percent (1 4 7) was using (37%) or preparing (32%) to use ML in clinic, mostly for contouring and treatment planning. In 86%, human observers were still involved in daily clinical use for quality check of the output of the ML algorithm. Knowledge on ethics, legislation and data sharing was limited and scattered among responders. Besides the need for (implementation) guidelines, training of medical physicists and larger databases containing multicentre data was found to be the top priority to accommodate the further introduction of ML in clinical practice.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The results of this survey indicated the need for education and guidelines on the implementation and quality assurance of ML-based applications to benefit clinical introduction.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Multimorbid patients in nursing homes are prescribed long lists of medication, often without sufficient clinical evaluations beforehand. This results in poor clinical effects of the prescribed medication and significant side-effects, especially in patients with impaired cognition. The aim of this paper is to describe the process, content and implementation of a clinical medication review encompassing clinical testing and collegial support to prescribers. METHODS:The implementation process of a novel approach to medication review in nursing homes was logged thoroughly by structured staff feedback. Staff experienced promotors and barriers to implementation also were collected. The study was part of a cluster randomized controlled trial, in which 36 long-term care units received the COSMOS intervention. Nurses and physicians randomized to the intervention group participated in educational programs, training in clinical evaluation of the patients, and interprofessional medication review with collegial mentoring. RESULTS:The intervention group contained 297 patients from 36 nursing home units. There were 105 staff attendees for the education program. The units were served by 21 different physicians. Clinical medication reviews were performed in all units and all patients were assessed prior to the medication reviews. Of the 240 patients with a logged intervention process, 220 (92%) underwent a medication review. The intervention generated enthusiasm and improved communication among nursing staff and between nursing staff and physicians. The interprofessional discussions helped to facilitate difficult decisions pertaining to treatment levels. Reported barriers were lack of time, low engagement of all nursing staff and physicians, and ethical dilemmas. CONCLUSIONS:Clinical medication reviews were implemented for almost all patients, and every patient was systematically assessed prior to the medication review. The physicians perceived collegial mentoring as an asset, learning from each other facilitated decision making in terms of difficult aspects of prescribing. Knowledge about barriers and promotors can improve implementation of similar interventions in other nursing homes. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Clinicaltrials.gov ( NCT02238652 ). Registered July 7th 2014.
Project description:Chemical physics as a discipline contributes many experimental tools, algorithms, and fundamental theoretical models that can be applied to biological problems. This is especially true now as the molecular level and the systems level descriptions begin to connect, and multi-scale approaches are being developed to solve cutting edge problems in biology. In some cases, the concepts and tools got their start in non-biological fields, and migrated over, such as the idea of glassy landscapes, fluorescence spectroscopy, or master equation approaches. In other cases, the tools were specifically developed with biological physics applications in mind, such as modeling of single molecule trajectories or super-resolution laser techniques. In this introduction to the special topic section on chemical physics of biological systems, we consider a wide range of contributions, all the way from the molecular level, to molecular assemblies, chemical physics of the cell, and finally systems-level approaches, based on the contributions to this special issue. Chemical physicists can look forward to an exciting future where computational tools, analytical models, and new instrumentation will push the boundaries of biological inquiry.
Project description:Chromosome large-scale organization is a beautiful example of the interplay between physics and biology. DNA molecules are polymers and thus belong to the class of molecules for which physicists have developed models and formulated testable hypotheses to understand their arrangement and dynamic properties in solution, based on the principles of polymer physics. Biologists documented and discovered the biochemical basis for the structure, function and dynamic spatial organization of chromosomes in cells. The underlying principles of chromosome organization have recently been revealed in unprecedented detail using high-resolution chromosome capture technology that can simultaneously detect chromosome contact sites throughout the genome. These independent lines of investigation have now converged on a model in which DNA loops, generated by the loop extrusion mechanism, are the basic organizational and functional units of the chromosome.