Risk factors for near-miss events and safety incidents in pediatric radiation therapy

Nimrah Baig, Jiangxia Wang, Shereef Elnahal, Todd McNutt, Jean Wright, Theodore DeWeese, Stephanie A Terezakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: Factors contributing to safety- or quality-related incidents (e.g. variances) in children are unknown. We identified clinical and RT treatment variables associated with risk for variances in a pediatric cohort. Materials and methods: Using our institution's incident learning system, 81 patients age ≤21 years old who experienced variances were compared to 191 pediatric patients without variances. Clinical and RT treatment variables were evaluated as potential predictors for variances using univariate and multivariate analyses. Results: Variances were primarily documentation errors (n = 46, 57%) and were most commonly detected during treatment planning (n = 14, 21%). Treatment planning errors constituted the majority (n = 16 out of 29, 55%) of near-misses and safety incidents (NMSI), which excludes workflow incidents. Therapists reported the majority of variances (n = 50, 62%). Physician cross-coverage (OR = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.04–4.38) and 3D conformal RT (OR = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.11–4.69) increased variance risk. Conversely, age >14 years (OR = 0.5, 95% CI = 0.28–0.88) and diagnosis of abdominal tumor (OR = 0.2, 95% CI = 0.04–0.59) decreased variance risk. Conclusions: Variances in children occurred in early treatment phases, but were detected at later workflow stages. Quality measures should be implemented during early treatment phases with a focus on younger children and those cared for by cross-covering physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-182
Number of pages5
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Incidents
  • Near-misses
  • Patient safety
  • Pediatrics
  • Quality
  • Variances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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