Dosimetry audits in Taiwan radiotherapy departments

BJR Open. 2021 Apr 15;3(1):20210002. doi: 10.1259/bjro.20210002. eCollection 2021.


Objectives: This study examines the practice of the regulation of Standards for Medical Exposure Quality Assurance (SMEQA) in Taiwan based on on-site quality audit for radiation therapy systems from 2016 to 2019.

Methods: 81 radiation therapy departments, 141 linacs, 9 γ knife systems, 34 high dose rate brachytherapy systems, 20 Tomotherapys, and 6 Cyberknives were audited yearly. Data collection and analysis for each institute's documents including QA procedure, ion chamber and electrometer calibration reports, and a questionnaire relating to machine type and staffing, were requested first and reviewed by auditors. On-site SMEQA core item measurements, including beam output, beam profile and energy constancy for external beam therapy systems, and the source strength, positioning, and timer accuracy for brachytherapy systems were audited second. More than 300 photon beams and more than 400 electron beams were measured each year.

Results: There were approximately 8.9 radiotherapy units per million population, and 1.2 medical physicists per unit in Taiwan. For the output measurements, more than 78 and 75% of the photon beams and electron beams, respectively, from linacs were with deviations within ±1.0%. Photon beams have lower beam quality measurement deviations than electron beams. Including in-plane and cross-plane measurements, more than 90 and 85% photon and electron beams, respectively, were with flatness consistency within 1.0%. All audit measurements were within the SMEQA acceptance criteria.

Conclusions: According to SMEQA regulations on-site QA audits were successfully carried out from 2016 to 2019 for all Taiwan radiotherapy units. The measurement results showed high quality machine performance in Taiwan.

Advances in knowledge: Dosimetry audits with directly acquired measurement readings have lower uncertainties; allow immediate feedback, discussion, and adjustment in a timely manner. In addition to regulation system establishment and education and training implementation, the machine quality is closely related to machine maintenance implementation.