The Canadian Big Radiotherapy Data Initiative 

The Canadian Big Radiotherapy Data Initiative

Variation in radiation treatment prescribing practice can occur on local, regional and national levels due partly to patient differences and availability of treatment technologies in various regions.  As well, historical precedent, practitioner preference and integration of new evidence into clinical practice can also play a role.

The ability of capitalize on this “big data” provides us with an opportunity to measure variability in treatment plans by addressing both how to collect plan data from multiple centres and what data needs to be collected, while focusing on the balance between individualized care and standardization.

What has been done

A common nomenclature is critical to big data analysis and was the focus of the AAPM TG 263 Report: Standardizing Nomenclatures in Radiation Oncology. As a first step towards the assessment of radiotherapy data, CPQR launched the Canadian Big Radiotherapy Data Initiative (CBRTDI). The initiative aimed to provide guidance on how to implement standardized nomenclature within RT programs and how to get prepared for pan-Canadian data sharing.

Standardized nomenclature across programs and provinces throughout Canada will help CPQR lay the foundation for implementing pan-Canadian collection and analysis of clinical and radiation treatment plans. This early work will make it easier for us to link big data – treatment plans and patient reported outcomes and understand the impact of treatment on patients.

In March 2021, CPQR released a document entitled “Guidance on the use of common nomenclature in Canadian radiation treatment programs” with the goal of harmonizing community practice and improving quality performance and patient outcomes.

What will be done next

Since the release of “Guidance on the use of common nomenclature in Canadian radiation treatment programs” CPQR has analyzed both the use and acceptance of the document within practice in RT programs across Canada. Stay tuned for updates!