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Peer-review programmes in radiation oncology are used to facilitate the process and evaluation of clinical decision-making. However, web-based peer-review methods are still uncommon. This study analysed an inter-centre, web-based peer-review case conference as a method of facilitating the decision-making process in radiation oncology.
A benchmark form was designed based on the American Society for Radiation Oncology targets for radiation oncology peer review. This was used for evaluating the contents of the peer-review case presentations on 40 cases, selected from three participating radiation oncology centres. A scoring system was used for comparison of data, and a survey was conducted to analyse the experiences of radiation oncology professionals who attended the web-based peer-review meetings in order to identify priorities for improvement.
The mean scores for the evaluations were 82·7, 84·5, 86·3 and 87·3% for cervical, prostate, breast and head and neck presentations, respectively. The survey showed that radiation oncology professionals were confident about the role of web-based peer-reviews in facilitating sharing of good practice, stimulating professionalism and promoting professional growth. The participants were satisfied with the quality of the audio and visual aspects of the web-based meeting.
The results of this study suggest that simple inter-centre web-based peer-review case conferences are a feasible technique for peer review in radiation oncology. Limitations such as data security and confidentiality can be overcome by the use of appropriate structure and technology. To drive the issues of quality and safety a step further, small radiotherapy departments may need to consider web-based peer-review case conference as part of their routine quality assurance practices.
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