Purpose: The medical physics chart checks for brachytherapy can be tedious and prone to errors. To improve working efficiency and efficacy for brachytherapy physicists, this work explores the feasibility of using an automated tool that streamlines parts of brachytherapy chart checking.
Methods: An in-house automated tool written in python 3 was used in this proof-of-concept study that automated some physics chart checks for LDR permanent prostate brachytherapy. This automated tool reads the electronic medical records (EMR) in our Varian Aria system, and finds the information for analysis based on the knowledge of our Aria template of each EMR document. This automated tool checks if a specific EMR document is filled out adequately, or whether the information in the multiple EMR documents is consistent. A summary review report is generated after running the tool, with warning/ error messages for any unexpected contents. Eleven LDR patients were randomly selected to test this tool. For the pre-implant document review and seed ordering, the automated tool checked patient ID, course Intent, previous EBRT history, prostate volume, total dose, isotope, individual source strength, number of seeds to be ordered vs. our department nomogram, physician approval, etc. For the post-implant chart check, the tool verified things including time-out checklist, implant information (e.g., the numbers of needles and sources used in the implant) and radiation survey.
Results: Our automated tool performed 133 checks for each LDR patient. This tool quickly caught a few typos in the PSI prescription and volume report for 3 out of 11 patients. The automated tool significantly sped up chart checking from more than 10min (manual check) to less than 10 second for each patient.
Conclusion: This work provides a pilot study for automated chart checking for brachytherapy. Using an automated tool is feasible and greatly facilitates routine chart checks and annual audit.