Safe treatment at Tampere University Hospital
The Department of Oncology at Tampere University Hospital is the second largest cancer centre in Finland. It delivers radiotherapy for around 2000 patients each year with close to 40,000 treatment sessions. The hospital currently has five linear accelerators and there are plans to expand. The Deltabit Medi patient identification system has been in use for all radiotherapy patients since 2006.
– At Tampere University Hospital, we place special focus on safe treatment, says Medical Physicist Antti Vanhanen. One key area is the correct identification of the patient and ensuring that the correct patient gets the correct treatment. Treatment delivery is gradually changing towards higher doses for each fraction. This places even higher demands on the quality control for each session. The intended treatment administered to a wrong patient may cause serious adverse effects.
Reliable patient identification
Before Tampere University Hospital took the Deltabit Medi into use, there were one or two patient identification errors each year. Since then, there have been none. The system has worked as intended.
– In the past, the patient’s identity was checked by asking them for their name or social security number, says Vanhanen.
This works well in most cases. Unfortunately there are always cases that are impossible to predict. For example, before the Deltabit identification, there were cases where, in order to get a more suitable treatment schedule, patients pretended to be someone else. There is always a human aspect involved, creating surprises. With the fingerprint-based system, human errors on both the personnel’s and the patient’s side are eradicated and correct identification is documented.
When an error occurs during treatment, it may be a serious event.
– In our hospital, the situation is analysed thoroughly and appropriate corrective and preventive actions are applied, describes Vanhanen. With the help of the Deltabit Medi, the probability of treating the wrong patient has been minimised, Vanhanen continues.
The system has been received well by the patients. It often lightens the mood and people even joke about it: “Oh, I’m still the same person!”