Various forms of data are needed in the treatment planning and dose delivery process including patient information regarding external contours and internal structures, isodose distributions, therapy machine monitor unit calculations, multileaf collimator configurations, details regarding the patient treatment procedure and patient verification image information. In the past this information was transferred by hand, on paper. Modern computer technology allows digital transfer by the use of a radiation oncology information system or, what also has come to be known as a record and verify system. In addition, another relevant form of data transfer includes data derived from QA procedures, data that has been captured through a beam data acquisition system (e.g., remote control water phantom) and is transferred directly to the treatment planning computer.
The intent of a computerized radiation oncology information system is to help reduce the risk of errors by providing a consistent and automated source of patient-related data which can be used for every fraction of the radiation treatment course. To function as intended, the radiation oncology information system must have stored a complete set of information, including the patient’s identification, prescription, treatment plan, and field parameters. Since radiation oncology information systems are used in different clinics, they must be compatible with a wide range of treatment machines, treatment techniques, and treatment planning equipment.
Introduction to References
The paper by Siochi et al provides a recent overview of the role of information technology (IT) in radiation oncology including a list of IT-related tasks and a resource map. The newsletter from the website of the Radiation Oncology Safety Information System (ROSIS) profiles treatment errors related to data transfer. In addition, there is an AAPM Task Group report on information transfer from beam data acquisition systems.