A framework for the implementation of new radiation therapy technologies and treatment techniques in low-income countries.
Physica medica : PM : an international journal devoted to the applications of physics to medicine and biology : official journal of the Italian Association of Biomedical Physics (AIFB)
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We present a practical, generic, easy-to-use framework for the implementation of new radiation therapy technologies and treatment techniques in low-income countries. The framework is intended to standardize the implementation process, reduce the effort involved in generating an implementation strategy, and provide improved patient safety by reducing the likelihood that steps are missed during the implementation process. The 10 steps in the framework provide a practical approach to implementation. The steps are, 1) Site and resource assessment, 2) Evaluation of equipment and funding, 3) Establishing timelines, 4) Defining the treatment process, 5) Equipment commissioning, 6) Training and competency assessment, 7) Prospective risk analysis, 8) System testing, 9) External dosimetric audit and incident learning, and 10) Support and follow-up. For each step, practical advice for completing the step is provided, as well as links to helpful supplementary material. An associated checklist is provided that can be used to track progress through the steps in the framework. While the emphasis of this paper is on addressing the needs of low-income countries, the concepts also apply in high-income countries.