Improving the quality of radiation oncology: 10years' experience of QUATRO audits in the IAEA Europe Region

Radiother Oncol. 2018 Feb;126(2):183-190. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2017.09.011. Epub 2017 Oct 5.


Background and purpose: The IAEA has developed a methodology for comprehensive quality audits of radiotherapy practices called Quality Assurance Team for Radiation Oncology (QUATRO). This study explores the factors that impacted quality of care among QUATRO audited centres in the IAEA Europe Region.

Materials and methods: The 31 QUATRO reports collected over 10years include extensive data describing the quality of radiotherapy at the audited centres. A coding key was developed to aggregate and review these data in terms of recommendations for improvement and positive findings (commendations).

Results: Overall 759 recommendations and 600 commendations were given. Eight centres recognized as centres of competence differed from other centres mostly because they operated complete quality management systems and were adequately staffed. Other centres had excessive staff workloads and many gaps in the process of care. Insufficient equipment levels were prevalent. Patient centredness, communication, dosimetry, quality control and radiation protection were frequently commended by QUATRO.

Conclusions: This analysis points to barriers to quality care such as insufficient staffing, education/training, equipment and lack of quality management. It highlights the correlation between the human resources availability and quality of care. It has also identified common action items for enhancing quality of radiotherapy programmes in the Region.

Keywords: Clinical audits in radiation oncology; Quality Assurance Team in Radiation Oncology; Quality audits in radiotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Europe
  • Humans
  • International Agencies
  • Medical Audit
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Quality Control
  • Radiation Oncology / methods*
  • Radiation Oncology / standards*