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  • Radiation Safety for Patients

  • Our Hallmarks: Training, Monitoring and Vigilance

    Radiation is a proven and essential tool used to diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries. All Lifespan's affiliated hospitals (Rhode Island Hospital and its Hasbro Children's hospital, The Miriam Hospital, Bradley Hospital and Newport Hospital) are licensed by the State of Rhode Island Department of Health and follow strict Federal government regulations regarding the use of radiation for health care and research.

    Radiotherapy is a multifaceted practice that involves the active involvement of several different clinical and technical specialists. These include: radiation oncologists, medical physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists, and nurses. A high level of professional expertise is demanded when operating the variety of equipment in a safe and effective manner. There are multiple steps involved in radiotherapy treatments. Processes change frequently as a result of research findings and the introduction of new, advanced technologies.

    In order to stay current regarding use of radiotherapy treatments and technologies and to offer our patients the best and safest treatments, Lifespan's hospitals have invested in significant resources that support the necessary staff and equipment. A Quality Management and Error Prevention Program has been established to address the required multiple human factor and technical components.

    Key elements include:

    • A safety-conscious culture that makes the delivery of accurate treatments the collective responsibility of all department staff. It helps to ensure that policies and procedures for the safe delivery of radiotherapy are in place.
    • Lifespan's hospitals adhere to national professional association-approved procedures and guidelines for safe implementation and ongoing utilization of existing, new and advanced technologies.
    • Regular reviews are conducted to help ensure that treatment protocols are up to date, and that staffing levels and skills mix are appropriate for the numbers of patients treated and complexity of treatments delivered.
    • Careful monitoring of work environments takes place to help ensure that staff can administer radiation to patients without inappropriate interruptions.
    • Should the rare occurrence of radiotherapy errors occur, a formal system for reporting and analyzing these treatment errors or potential errors has been established. These topics, as well as lessons learned, are discussed by staff in multi-disciplinary meetings.
    • A documented medical physics quality assurance program helps to monitor that radiotherapy is delivered as intended and in accordance with protocols, in order to maintain and continually improve the quality of the service.
    • Comprehensive preparation before the introduction of new equipment, processes or techniques is mandated. This includes a thorough risk assessment, review of staffing levels and skills required, and the acquisition of relevant physical measurements and documentation.
    • Staff is required to undergo rigorous training in new equipment, treatment techniques or processes prior to clinical use.
    • The Quality Management and Error Prevention Program in Radiotherapy requires the maintenance of up-to-date training, licensure and certification of all staff in conformance with state and federally-mandated credentialing requirements.

    Diagnostic Imaging Task Force

    In addition to the Quality Management and Error Prevention Program in Radiotherapy, a Lifespan task force has been convened to explore diagnostic imaging at all affiliated hospitals. The Lifespan Diagnostic Imaging Patient Care Oversight Committee has been established to take a leadership role in examining opportunities to reduce radiation doses to our patients to the extent possible or advisable.

    We welcome you tosubmit questions or concerns relating to the Quality Management and Error Prevention Program in radiotherapy.