The main purpose of the Radiotherapy waiting times data set specification (RWT DSS) is to describe the information that must be collected to calculate the waiting times for the following time period in the treatment pathway for radiotherapy services in Australia:
The time between the patient’s ready-for-care date and the date of the first megavoltage external beam radiotherapy treatment.
Establishments in scope are only those healthcare establishments that provide megavoltage external beam radiotherapy treatment (in-scope radiotherapy treatment). Both public and private establishments are in scope. It is desirable for both public establishments and private establishments to report data to the data set specification (DSS).
The scope is not limited by diagnosis: it includes people with cancer (notifiable and non-notifiable) and people who do not have cancer.
People in scope are those who started a course of radiotherapy treatment within the reference period.
For public establishments, all in-scope activity should be reported, including services provided by specialists operating under right of private practice arrangements.
The table below defines some key concepts used in the Radiotherapy waiting times DSS. It is assumed that data submitted to the Radiotherapy waiting times DSS adhere to these definitions. These definitions do not necessarily apply to other data sets.
A course of radiotherapy treatment is a series of one or more radiotherapy treatments prescribed by a radiation oncologist.
A course of radiotherapy treatment should have an associated ready-for-care date and, when treatment starts, a radiotherapy start date.
A patient can receive more than one course of radiotherapy treatment at the same time (i.e. courses which are simultaneous or which overlap). These courses may have the same or different ready-for-care dates and the same or different radiotherapy start dates.
Only a radiation oncologist can prescribe a course of radiotherapy treatment. A prescription is not equal to a course of radiotherapy treatment. A prescription may be for one or more courses of radiotherapy treatment. A prescription outlines the anatomical region/sites to be treated and is for a prescribed dose at a defined volume (fractionation) over a defined period of time.
One course of radiotherapy treatment may cover multiple phases and multiple treatment plans.
The completion of a course of radiotherapy treatment is not relevant to the definition of a course of radiotherapy treatment.
Diagnosis is described either by the principal diagnosis (where radiotherapy is intended as treatment for cancer), or by the principal diagnosis of the disease being treated (where radiotherapy is intended as treatment for a disease other than cancer).
Treatment starts with the first fraction delivered and does not include the planning or simulation stages of radiotherapy.
The statistical unit will be calculated by the AIHW for time period (see Scope above) using the following data elements: