By Ashlyn Seeley Everett, M.D., radiation oncologist at Alliance Cancer Care
Patient Safety Awareness Week, an annual celebration of patient safety and quality improvement initiatives, takes place this week, March 14-18. Alliance Cancer Care is committed to providing the North Alabama communities with state-of-the-art radiation treatment. Our team of physicians, physicists, dosimetrists, therapists, and nurses is dedicated to delivering safe and high-quality radiation therapy to our patients.
Patient safety involves all members of our team working together to provide the best care for our patients. Daily, our physicians and therapists ensure the proper alignment of our patients for each treatment. To accomplish this goal, our patients must undergo simulation to create a custom plan. During this simulation, skin marks or tattoos are placed on the skin of our patients to better align patients for treatment. Before treatment, images are obtained to verify that patients are correctly aligned, to ensure that the radiation is delivered accurately and precisely. Our therapists work in pairs to ensure patient safety, and to provide a second check on patients as they treat patients daily.
Behind the scenes, safety remains a top priority. Prior to each patient starting treatment, multiple safety procedures are performed by our dosimetry and physics teams. Weekly, our physician group meets together to peer-review and second-check all treatment plans for safety for our patients. Our physics staff also performs weekly evaluations of all patients on treatment to ensure the treatments are accurate.
More than ever, patient safety is at the forefront of our minds, as we continue to move through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our teams prioritize our patients’ health and safety and will continue to do so. You may not see each of the team members when you come for daily radiation treatments, but the safety net of their work protects and provides security for each of our patients.