Patient Care and Research

Patient Safety Awareness Week (PSAW)

Patient Safety Awareness Week (PSAW), sponsored by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), is an opportunity to celebrate the numerous quality and safety initiatives already in place and to identify what more can be done to improve patient safety. PSAW takes place during the second full week of March and is a time to acknowledge the many commitments radiation oncology professionals and practices make every day to deliver safe and high-quality cancer treatment.

ASTRO encourages radiation oncology professionals to initiate and join the conversation about safety with their colleagues within the specialty and in the health care community every day but especially during PSAW. Consider participating in the following initiatives and reviewing the latest safety education during PSAW.

2023: March 12 - 18

RO-ILS Webinar

A live webinar hosted by Varian on “Champions for RO-ILS: Leveraging Incident Learning for Safety Improvement” was held on Wednesday March 15. RO-ILS is a national program that gives participants access to a ready-to-use online portal to collect and analyze errors in a secure and protected environment, and is available at no cost to users thanks to generous contributions to RO-ILS from associations and Safety Champions like Varian, a Siemens Healthineers company. A recording of the webinar will be made available in the coming weeks.

#PSAW23 and #ROSafety

Share safety research and quality activities with your colleagues, the radiation oncology community, and house of medicine on social media. Be sure to include the hashtags #PSAW23 and #ROSafety in all posts.

Safety Selfie

Post a photo of yourself and/or your team holding the PSAW handout on social media to promote your important role as safety champion(s). In appreciation of ongoing virtual meetings, you may also utilize a virtual background that could be applied to a Microsoft Teams, Zoom, GoToMeeting or Webex meeting (see linked webpages for instructions).



Read a recent ASTRO Blog Post by Quality and Safety Program Managers at Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center and learn the many ways their practice celebrated PSAW in 2022 and their plans for 2023. Additionally, you could:

  • Celebrate safety interventions implemented in the past year with all staff.
  • Start a good catch program to celebrate individuals who identified an error and submitted it to RO-ILS. For practices with an existing program, hold a raffle for staff that were acknowledged in the previous year for identifying errors.
  • Offer prizes such as a gift card or a safety-oriented token (e.g., mini flashlight).

Incident Learning

Read an interview with a medical physicist from Sutter Medical Foundation about their RO-ILS experience and tips to invigorate participation. Highlight RO-ILS and encourage staff to identify and submit safety events by showing the "Submitter" video located on the RO-ILS Portal homepage. Share and discuss the RO-ILS Dashboard graphs with staff or create custom reports with the AnalysisWizard. Not already enrolled or need support reengaging and utilizing RO-ILS to its full capacity? Attend the RO-ILS webinar and email ASTRO or call 703-286-1604.

Have innovative ideas on how your practice will be celebrating and promoting patient safety during PSAW? Send them for inclusion in future PSAW materials.

Ongoing Safety Initiatives

One of the four major ASTRO goals is to consistently deliver the highest quality and value care to cancer patients. A heightened focus on safety began more than 10 years ago with the Target Safely initiative. Toward this aim, ASTRO offers a variety of ongoing programs and resources, including:

  • RO-ILS: Radiation Oncology Incident Learning System®. RO-ILS is one of the few specialty-specific programs that collects safety data via a federally listed patient safety organization in a protected, non-punitive environment. Participation in RO-ILS is free thanks to the generous financial support of sponsors ASTRO and AAPM and supporters Varian, ASRT, AAMD and Sun Nuclear Corporation.
  • APEx - Accreditation Program for Excellence®. APEx evaluates all aspects of a radiation oncology practice to further promote consistent patient-centered care. Facilities accredited by APEx are recognized as having demonstrated a commitment to providing safe, high-quality care to patients and elevating the culture of safety.
  • Safety is No Accident. This comprehensive reference guide describes the radiation oncology process of care, the clinical team, safety initiatives and tools and quality management.
  • Practical Radiation Oncology (PRO). Key focus areas of ASTRO’s official clinical practice journal include patient safety and quality improvement.
  • Guidelines and White Papers. These documents aim to assist health care professionals and patients with decision making and promote high quality and appropriate care.

Previous PSAWs