While the phrase “those New York Times articles” may not have been on every attendee’s lips at this year’s meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO), it was certainly on their minds. The “Radiation Boom,” a series of articles first published in January 2010 by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Walt Bogdanich, detailed the explosion of radiation in medicine in recent years and investigated troubling evidence that suggested safety standards may have lagged behind adoption, setting the radiation therapy industry–external beam OEMs in particular aflame.
An ASTRO symposium in June of that year titled “Safety in Radiation Therapy – A Call to Action” laid out the industry’s defensive response and hopes to create a culture of safety; a focus on eliminating human errors through better training, accreditation, and processes; improving engineering to reduce technical errors; and the development of intelligent patient monitoring systems. This year’s ASTRO meeting showcased an industry back on the offensive, eager to demonstrate the safety of their wares and propose newly developed or improved solutions to a vigilant community of practitioners and the public.
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