Purpose: To evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of a script based automatic treatment plan report printing application
Methods: An Eclipse Scripting API (ESAPI) based C# application has been developed in two hospitals where they were printing the treatment plan document manually. The script was designed to convert the treatment planning data, such as plan parameters, image information, dose volume histogram, and dose distributions, into the department-specific plan reports. The report is saved as a single PDF file after automatic attachment of independent MU calculation form etc. Total time spent during the plan printing was measured by parsing the time stamp of an individual PDF file or manually counting the elapsed time by the planner before and after the automation. Other qualitative feedback was also collected from the planners.
Results: In the A hospital, the mean manual plan printing time was 24.1±20.7 min (median 16.3 min) per plan, while 0.4±0.4 min (median 0.3 min) per plan was spent after the automation, which gives 19.7 min time saving per plan. Similarly, B hospital could save 3.8 min per plan after the automation, where the mean manual printing time was 5.2 min per plan. Considering the average number of treatment plans of 2,470 and 14,690 cases at each hospital, their time savings could be converted into 0.46 and 0.48 FTE, respectively. In addition to the quantitative time saving, the planners could reduce their stress with being free from mistakes and avoid reprinting. Automation improved the workflow to print out the treatment plan, resulting in more consistency, and allowing to provide more information in the report.
Conclusion: It was found that significant time and effort are spent on the plan report printing. The plan finalization time could be reduced, and the planning workflow could be improved using the automatic plan printing tool.