Safety and feasibility of STAT RAD: Improvement of a novel rapid tomotherapy-based radiation therapy workflow by failure mode and effects analysis

Ryan T. Jones, Lydia Handsfield, Paul W. Read, David D. Wilson, Ray Van Ausdal, David J. Schlesinger, Jeffrey V. Siebers, Quan Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: The clinical challenge of radiation therapy (RT) for painful bone metastases requires clinicians to consider both treatment efficacy and patient prognosis when selecting a radiation therapy regimen. The traditional RT workflow requires several weeks for common palliative RT schedules of 30 Gy in 10 fractions or 20 Gy in 5 fractions. At our institution, we have created a new RT workflow termed "STAT RAD" that allows clinicians to perform computed tomographic (CT) simulation, planning, and highly conformal single fraction treatment delivery within 2 hours. In this study, we evaluate the safety and feasibility of the STAT RAD workflow. Methods and materials: A failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) was performed on the STAT RAD workflow, including development of a process map, identification of potential failure modes, description of the cause and effect, temporal occurrence, and team member involvement in each failure mode, and examination of existing safety controls. A risk probability number (RPN) was calculated for each failure mode. As necessary, workflow adjustments were then made to safeguard failure modes of significant RPN values. After workflow alterations, RPN numbers were again recomputed. Results: A total of 72 potential failure modes were identified in the pre-FMEA STAT RAD workflow, of which 22 met the RPN threshold for clinical significance. Workflow adjustments included the addition of a team member checklist, changing simulation from megavoltage CT to kilovoltage CT, alteration of patient-specific quality assurance testing, and allocating increased time for critical workflow steps. After these modifications, only 1 failure mode maintained RPN significance; patient motion after alignment or during treatment. Conclusions: Performing the FMEA for the STAT RAD workflow before clinical implementation has significantly strengthened the safety and feasibility of STAT RAD. The FMEA proved a valuable evaluation tool, identifying potential problem areas so that we could create a safer workflow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-112
Number of pages7
JournalPractical Radiation Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Society for Radiation Oncology.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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