It is essential that the performance of radiotherapy equipment remains consistent within accepted tolerances throughout its clinical life, as patient treatments will be planned and delivered on the basis of the performance measurements at acceptance and commissioning. An ongoing QA programme of regular performance checks should therefore be started immediately after the commissioning process.
A QA programme of radiotherapy equipment is based on a number of quality control tests that should specify the parameters to be tested, the tests to be performed, the specific equipment to be used, the geometry and frequency of the tests, and the staff performing and supervising the tests. Such a QA programme should furthermore specify the expected results, the tolerance and action levels, as well as the actions required when the tolerance levels are exceeded. It should be kept as simple as possible in order to optimize the time and effort. QA programmes should be tailored to the specific equipment and departmental situation.
Introduction to References
As elucidated in Chapter 12 of the IAEA Handbook and in the IAEA publication Setting up a Radiotherapy Programme, a QA programme for equipment is part of a broader QA system of a radiotherapy department. After explaining the need for QA in radiotherapy, Chapter 12 in the IAEA Handbook provides details how an equipment-related QA programme should be structured, and gives a number of examples of QA programmes for radiotherapy equipment.