A critical assessment of the quality of radiation therapy in Israel: time to initiation of treatment of spinal cord compression as an index of efficiency

Erez Beiser*, Viacheslav Soyfer, Ilyia Novikov, Ido Wolf, Gil Fire, Benjamin W. Corn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Radiotherapy departments function under workload pressure. We examined the process from referral to treatment initiation for spinal cord compression (SCC), one of the most daunting clinical scenarios in oncology. Methods: We identified 235 patients with SCC, treated between 2013–2015. Two physicians classified cases as “emergent” or “urgent” (treatment within 24 or 72 h, respectively). Results: The distribution of referrals over the week was uniform for inpatients. In contrast, there was a referral peak (62.27%) during the first two workdays for emergency ambulatory patients (p = 0.011). There were few weekend referrals in all groups (3.0%). There was a statistically shorter interval between referral and treatment for emergent versus urgent cases (0.94 days vs. 4.17 days; p < 0.0001, Bonferroni correction p < 0.0005). Conclusion: Time elapsed between referral and treatment of SCC may constitute a quality index in neuro-oncology. Modern departments of radiotherapy should determine the degree to which they can successfully implement such treatment. Patients with cancer and their physicians should be taught to recognize signs of SCC to expedite intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-335
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Volume143
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Quality index
  • Radiotherapy
  • Spinal cord compression

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