Interoperability: What Technical Challenges do Radiation Oncologists Face?

by Mary Feng, MD

Interoperability is a major challenge in radiation oncology due to the technical specialization of our field. Safety and efficiency of clinical care can be compromised when information exchange across software is not seamless. To address this issue, in 2004, ASTRO created Integrating Healthcare Enterprise–Radiation Oncology (IHE-RO), an initiative that helps to ensure safe, efficient radiation treatments by improving system-to-system connections.
IHE-RO, now operated by the American Association of Medical Physicists, tests use cases to address clinical issues and helps to check interoperability between different equipment. To prioritize what technical challenges are most pressing to radiation oncologists, we are seeking user feedback.
We need to hear from you, the end users who experience these technical challenges. Where is information transfer inefficient? What do you worry about as information passes between systems? Are there situations in which many manual steps are required to guard against treatment errors? When are you manually transcribing information or sending PDFs because direct electronic transfer is not currently possible? What other workarounds has your clinic developed because direct information transfer is not currently possible?
Answers to these questions will be used to develop new use cases, which will be the basis for the technical committee to develop industry standards for vendors to improve the system integration of their products, resulting in safer and more efficient patient care.
We need to hear your input on what is important to you. Chances are, many others are experiencing the same problems, and together we can push for change. Please share your thoughts in a brief survey so that we can develop new use cases. The survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Your responses will be treated with confidentiality. The deadline for completion is May 31. Many thanks in advance to those who participate for your time and thoughtfulness.
IHE-RO is an AAPM/ASTRO-sponsored initiative for improving the functionality of the radiation oncology clinic.  Founded in 2004, it is comprised of physicians, physicists, programmers and others from private practice, academics and industry, working together to identify and solve connectivity issues in radiation oncology. After starting with use cases addressing specific clinical problems, technical standards are established for the field that aid product development. Vendors can meet in Connectathons to test their products’ ability to integrate with other hardware and software.
Posted: May 9, 2018 | with 0 comments

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