Courses and Schedule

All times are in Eastern time.

  • Risk Reduction Strategies for Radiation Oncology
    Saturday, October 24
    10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
    Ed Kline, M.S., R.T.(N), CNMT

    Ensuring patient safety and managing risk is a significant goal of radiation oncology centers. Comprehensive risk management tools for quality and patient safety in radiation therapy are not widely available nor are they sufficient, causing inadequate error reporting, compromised clinical operations and noncompliance with regulatory requirements. This course describes what works and what doesn’t when implementing a comprehensive risk management software program at multiple cancer centers.

    • Review the historical basis for risk reduction initiatives and dive into the magnitude of risk in radiation oncology.
    • See an example of an effective risk management program for quality, compliance and patient safety that is easy to use and aligns with cost-effective measures while providing evidence-based results that follow value-based medicine requirements.
    • Understand how a nonpunitive safety culture that celebrates and rewards finding and correcting errors must be in place to ensure buy-in.
    • Delve into the future of artificial intelligence in predicting high-risk error situations throughout a cancer center’s workflow.
  • Immunotherapy: Past, Present, and Future
    Saturday, October 24
    11:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m.
    Timmerie Cohen, Ph.D., R.T.(R)(T), CMD

    Immunotherapy is known as the fourth pillar of cancer care. The focus of this course will be to impart the basic premise of immunotherapy and how it impacts the landscape of cancer care. Attendees will gain insight into how immunotherapy influences their practice.

    • Recognize the human immune system and its response mechanisms.
    • Discover the history and development of immunotherapy.
    • Identify basic checkpoint inhibitors and the essentials of immunotherapy.
    • Recognize the significance of immunotherapy in current cancer care regimes.
    • Discuss the importance of the changes immunotherapy might bring to radiation oncology practice.

    CE Disclaimers*: A, B, C, D

  • Current Techniques in MR Linear Accelerator Treatment
    Saturday, October 24
    12:40 p.m.-1:40 p.m.
    Shaun Caldwell Mustefa Mohammedsaid, M.S.R.S., R.T.(R)(T)(MR)

    The presenter will explain the workflow for daily adaptive treatment using the magnetic resonance linear accelerator and discuss simulation and treatment procedures for specific treatment sites.

    • Discuss the workflow of treating a patient using the MR linear accelerator.
    • Identify the safety requirements for MR linear accelerator treatment.
    • Argue the efficacy of MR linear accelerator treatments for lung, head and neck, and prostate cancers.

    CE Disclaimers*: A, B, C, D, E

  • Health Effects of Electronic Cigarettes
    Saturday, October 24
    2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Benjamin Morris

    Use of electronic nicotine delivery systems, commonly known as e-cigarettes, continues to rise since their introduction in 2007. Although not as much is known about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes compared to traditional tobacco cigarettes, this course will review recent research on health implications of e-cigarette use, including cancer risk, oral health impact and respiratory system damage. It also will cover device construction, usage statistics, advertising and marketing tactics, and federal regulations.

    • Describe the history, construction and function of electronic cigarettes, including the composition of e-liquids.
    • Discuss the effect of e-cigarettes on tobacco usage and smoking cessation rates.
    • Review current medical knowledge of the health risks associated with e-cigarette use.
    • Compare the negative health risks of e-cigarettes with the health risks for traditional cigarettes.
  • Global Collaboration Efforts: Therapists Can Help 
    Saturday, October 24
    2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Shaun Caldwell Mustefa Mohammedsaid, M.S.R.S., R.T.(R)(T)(MR)  

    This presentation highlights several collaborative projects various entities initiated that focused on developing a self-sustaining radiation therapy program, oberserverships in radiation therapy and patient safety efforts. Those entities were The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center School of Health Professions, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, Black Lion Hospital, Ayder Hospital, Ghana and the Gaza Strip. The speakers will present the results of the projects as well as address issues of clinical competence, patient safety and accurate delivery of radiation therapy treatments.

    • Identify what resources can be used to help radiation therapy patients in developing counties.
    • Discuss the need for radiation therapy education on a global perspective.
    • Evaluate current initiatives to assist Ethiopia, Ghana and Gaza.
  • Providing Students with Evaluation and Feedback – A Study
    Saturday, October 24
    2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Cheryl Young, M.S., R.T.(T)

    Clinical supervisors are responsible for overseeing clinical education and reporting student progress to radiation therapy programs. Problems in clinical educational programs have highlighted the need to understand clinical supervisors’ perception of their role, their ability to provide feedback to students and their ability to subjectively assess student learning as it relates to clinical competency. A qualitative phenomenological research design was used to help better understand the perception of radiation therapy clinical supervisors’ preparedness for their role in assessing students’ clinical performance. The results of this study, which will be shared in this course, will help in developing a training program that can be used to ensure that all clinical supervisors are properly trained to provide accurate student assessments.

    • Discuss the role clinical education has in radiation therapy education.
    • Define clinical evaluation and feedback.
    • Discuss methods used to evaluate students and provide feedback to aid in clinical development.
    • Learn about problems clinical supervisors have with providing clinical evaluations and feedback.
    • Identify themes formulated through analysis of research.
  • The Hazards of Burnout Among Radiation Therapists
    Saturday, October 24
    3:20 p.m.-4:20 p.m.
    Cassandra Worley

    Drawing from her own experiences with burnout — from having it herself to witnessing it during her 25 years as a radiation therapist and 15 years as a radiation therapy supervisor — the presenter will explain the reasons burnout happens and offer solutions for increasing awareness and prevention. The takeaway from the course is that fewer therapists experiencing burnout could lead to fewer department hazards.

    • Identify reasons for burnout in a radiation therapy setting.
    • Understand why burnout happens.
    • Identify the potential hazards of burnout.
    • Learn how to use data and tools to create solutions for building awareness and implementing prevention efforts.
    • Discuss the results stemming from decreased amounts of burnout
  • What's Up Doc? An Overview of Proton Therapy
    Saturday, October 24
    3:20 p.m.-4:20 p.m.
    Linnae Campbell

    How do proton center physicians decide which of their patients would benefit from proton therapy? What do they like about using proton therapy for their patients? During this course, each physician’s specialty will be explored along with a proton therapy case example that dives into the dosimetric considerations that can influence a patient’s clinical outcome. In addition, the presenter will discuss why certain meetings and activities take place at the proton center. At the end of the course, attendees will understand why day-to-day operations facilitate interdepartmental collaboration and lead to safe and effective proton therapy treatments.

    • Identify patients who can benefit from proton therapy and why.
    • Understand the unique dosimetric considerations when using proton therapy for different case types.
    • Gain a basic understanding of the workflow and collaboration that happens in a proton center to facilitate proton therapy treatments.

    CE Disclaimers*: A, B, C, D

  • The Fundamentals of Billing, Coding and Compliance – The Future and You 
    Saturday, October 24
    3:20 p.m.-4:20 p.m.
    Jordan Johnson

    The stakes in health care are higher than ever. Reimbursements are decreasing, quality measures are tied to reimbursement, and value-based care and alternative payment models are the norm. The accuracy of billing and coding practices defines payments. The need for all levels of staff to understand revenue, billing and finance is more critical than ever. This is especially true for frontline staff like therapists who capture codes when the work is performed. It is not enough to know the rules. Understanding the relationships and impact of the rules is imperative to ensuring compliance and viability. The process is multifaceted and complex, and complete understanding allows for better influence driven by data. The purpose of this course is to alleviate much of the stress caused by the pressure for financial performance of the department and system, which will allow for increased focus on the tasks at hand and a healthier work-life balance. The codes are more than numbers; they tell a story and they have consequences and outcomes that directly affect the therapist, the department and the facility.

    • Define the current billing and coding landscape.
    • Identify the elements of impact a therapist has on the revenue cycle management process.
    • Describe the current authoritative rules.
    • Demonstrate the value and expectations from data.
    • Review examples from actual in clinic scenarios and engage feedback.
  • Improve Simulation and Radiation Treatments for Patients With Head and Neck Cancer
    Sunday, October 25
    10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
    Neko D. Scott

    This course will discuss ways to improve simulation and radiation treatments for patients who have head and neck cancer. It also will discuss different positioning devices that have a role in improving patient comfort and setup reproducibility throughout the course of treatment.

    • Understand how to improve daily reproducibility and patient comfort.
    • Identify methods for reducing setup errors during radiation treatments for patients with head and neck cancer.
    • Discuss ways to maximize target dose delivery.
    • Explain the significance of using custom positioning devices for patients with head and neck cancer.

    CE Disclaimers*: A, B, C, D

  • Using Surface Matching in Managing DIBH Treatment
    Sunday, October 25
    10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
    Jozef Reczek

    Surface matching software has shown a recent rise in clinical applications in radiation oncology departments. This course will provide attendees an overview of the clinical applications of surface matching software for managing a deep inspiration breath hold treatment course. The presenter will explore the clinical use and interpretation of the Catalyst system, specifically in its use of deep inspiration breath hold treatments, and review the operation and workflow of the system as it pertains to the planning process and treatment administration.

    • Define and identify the critical components of surface matching systems optimization.
    • Interpret the values that guide decision-making in the use of the Catalyst system for DIBH treatments.
    • Learn workflow strategies.
    • Recognize and implement uses for a surface matching system.

    CE Disclaimers*: A, B, C, D

  • Bite Me: Exploring Biteblock Techniques Used With Thermoplastic Masks for Head and Neck Treatments
    Sunday, October 25
    10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
    Matthew Calhoun

    In this course, we will analyze methods of biteblock immobilization with thermoplastic masks through a comprehensive look at the methodologies in use today. We will examine the benefits of biteblocks for tissue sparing, particularly through tongue placement, including tongue depression and tongue diversion techniques. We will also look at oral positioning through a somatic lens, using a personal and physicalized approach to understanding the challenges and benefits of biteblocks. We will explore different methodologies used with thermoplastic masks (e.g., thermoplastic for fixation and auxiliary dental-putty, and we will also examine additional tongue placement options.

    • Gain comprehensive knowledge of biteblock immobilization methods. 
    • Examine the benefits of biteblocks and learn best practices for tissue-sparing positioning techniques. 
    • Use a somatic understanding of the head and neck to better understand how oral cavity immobilization can assist with head and neck treatments.
    • Learn about advanced positioning options available for the tongue and jaw.

    CE Disclaimers*: A, B, C, D

  • Integrating VERT into a Pathology and Treatment Principles Course
    Sunday, October 25
    11:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m.
    Melanie Dempsey

    The knowledge of anatomy, pathology and associated treatment techniques is essential to radiation therapy students’ development. The purpose of this course is to provide attendees with a specific example of how a virtual environment for radiation therapy supports the teaching of anatomy, pathology and treatment techniques and principles. Radiation therapy faculty developed workbooks for each disease site to be studied. They also developed multiple treatment plans that they then implemented into the virtual environment to provide visual, hands-on evaluation of each treatment technique. Each laboratory group was assigned to a specific patient with a unique diagnosis, stage and treatment technique, then presented its case addressing required elements such as the potential consequences of a geometric misalignment. Students were graded on their case presentation, tested on course material and surveyed regarding their experience with the virtual learning environment. This project is still in progress; therefore, the data presented in this course is not yet complete. Although the didactic content of anatomy and pathology of disease is largely unchanged, presenting current treatment techniques alongside course content deepens students’ knowledge of anatomy as it relates to treatment technique and isodose distribution.

    • Compare and contrast a traditional didactic course vs. an integrated course with a virtual learning environment.
    • Describe how a virtual environment can support the teaching of anatomy, pathology and treatment techniques and principles.
    • Review methods and materials associated with the modified course.
    • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of this type of course restructuring from student and faculty perspectives.
  • Career Avenues for Radiation Therapists
    Sunday, October 25
    11:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m.
    Martha Mychkovsky

    The purpose of this course is to bring awareness of career advancement opportunities for radiation therapists. The presenter will increase attendees’ knowledge of the career paths that exist using examples from her own career and those of her close colleagues, including advancement in the clinical department and in the realm of oncology. Attendees will hear the challenges and benefits that come with a career change and learn how to position themselves for advancement either in their current role or in a new career. While primarily geared toward therapists, this course also is intended to spark interest of leadership in developing talented therapists and keeping them engaged as a therapist or in other roles within the departments and health systems.

    • Identify various options for career paths in radiation therapy.
    • Understand the challenges and benefits of a career or role change.
    • Learn how to be mentally ready and marketable for a job change or advancement.
    • Visualize how to achieve the goal of advancing or changing careers.

    CE Disclaimers*: A, B, C, D

  • Medical Dosimetry: Myths, Opinions and Facts and How to Know What Is Correct for 2020
    Sunday, October 25
    11:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m.
    James Hugh III, M.H.A., CHBME, ROCC

    Medical dosimetry coding procedures and documentation have changed during the last 20 years, adding more responsibility to the medical dosimetrist to keep current and creating challenging questions such as when can procedure codes be captured in dosimetry, how many, and who should capture them. This course will discuss the current understanding of charge capture in electronic medical records and provide a basic review of the existing rules and regulations from ACR, AMA, ASTRO, AAPM, ACR, CMS and local payors and consultants. Attendees will also get to review tables that show examples of payment rates for each of the codes and in different locations.

    • Discuss dosimetry codes and how they typically are captured in the radiation oncology electronic medical records system.
    • Review the requirements for correct documentation with examples.
    • Understand when, how and where signatures should be obtained.
    • Review rules and regulations from ACR, AMA, ASTRO, AAPM, ACR, CMS and local payors and consultants.
  • Varian Hour: Ethos and Adaptive Therapy: The Washington University Experience
    Sunday, October 25
    12:40 p.m.-1:40 p.m.
    Lauren E. Henke

    Innovations in equipment and software have provided the platform to develop an advanced treatment approach called adaptive radiation therapy that has allowed for superior therapeutic outcomes in many patients. Effective treatment using ART begins with well-defined workflow and clinical resource allocation that includes staff, safety measures, hardware and software readiness. This course will describe the use of ART and its effect on patients and radiation oncology departments.

    • Define adaptive radiation therapy and describe the clinical goals of its use.
    • Understand unique pretreatment considerations.
    • Describe the adaptive radiation therapy workflow.
    • Identify therapist roles in the process and understand how these are likely to change with time, training and experience.
  • A Video Intervention of Head and Neck Cancer Patients: A Pilot Study
    Sunday, October 25
    12:40 p.m.-1:40 p.m.
    Jana Koth Morgan L. Taft

    The presenters will share the results of their study conducted to better understand the importance of patient education for those who are being treated for head and neck cancer. Some patients received educational materials in the form of written material (control group), whereas others received a video (intervention group) about the same topic. Baseline anxiety levels were assessed before patients received either method of education, then again after they had interacted with their education type. Changes in anxiety scores between patient groups also were compared.

    • Discuss the incidence and treatment of head and neck malignancies.
    • Understand the importance of patient education for head and neck patients.
    • Identify challenges in treating head and neck patients.
    • Summarize methods and results of this study.

    CE Disclaimers*: A, B, C, D

  • The Importance of and Psychology Behind the Best Friend at Work
    Sunday, October 25
    2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Allison Brown

    As health care professionals, it is important to provide world-class health care to patients and their families. However, it is equally important to ensure the cohesiveness, stability and efficiency of the staff. Often, this latter goal is achievable in part through the “best friend at work” dynamic. This course will discuss the controversy and benefits of this dynamic in a health care setting.

    • Define a best friend at work.
    • Explain the role of the best friend at work.
    • Explain the mental importance of the best friend at work.
    • Discuss the staff and employer benefits of a best friend at work.
    • Discuss the controversy behind the dynamic.
    • Negative aspects of the best friend at work.
  • Mentoring Radiation Therapy Students in Becoming Self-directed Learners
    Sunday, October 25
    2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Shaun Caldwell

    This course will demonstrate how radiation therapy educators can mentor students in becoming self-directed learners through using metacognition, study skills and motivation for learning. The presenter will discuss seven research-based principles for effective learning that can be used to support student development. Attendees will leave the session with specific tools to help them mentor students in becoming self-directed learners.

    • Identify the steps for developing an action plan for mentoring radiation therapy students into self-directed learners.
    • Learn the seven evidence-based teaching strategies that can be implemented into an existing curriculum.
    • Understand the importance of metacognition in effective and efficient student learning.
  • SGRT From Head to Toe
    Sunday, October 25
    2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Joseph Rau
    Vision RT

    Get details on the submillimetric patient setup abilities of surface-guided radiation therapy for multiple indications. Using various immobilization devices, Vision RT clinical applications specialists will demonstrate recommended techniques and various treatment workflows. By the end of the session, audience members will be able to explain the recommended practice of immobilization device creation and use with SGRT, describe efficient and accurate setup and treatment workflows and apply techniques for better patient care.

    • Demonstrate the recommended practice of immobilization device creation and use with SGRT.
    • Gain practical experience to improve efficiency and accuracy with treatment delivery.
    • Identify how to transfer the learned information into more accurate and efficient patient care using SGRT.

    CE Disclaimers*: This course has been approved for 0.5 Category A credit, B

  • Suicide Screening in Cancer Patients
    Sunday, October 25
    3:20 p.m.-4:20 p.m.
    Marlene Gonzalez

    More research is surfacing about the rise of suicide among cancer patients. In comparison to the general public, those affected by cancer are twice as likely to die by suicide. A high percentage of patients who commit suicide are in contact with a health professional shortly before their death. As health providers whose primary goal is to treat cancer patients with the highest quality of care, it is our responsibility to notice risk factors and take the appropriate steps to assist patients who show signs of suicide ideation. There is no set standard for regulating this process. Screening tools to identify depression and suicide ideation vary from clinic to clinic. Patient Health Questionnaire screening tools are frequently used, but because the responses to those questions overlap with symptoms patients experience while undergoing treatment, they are not the most reliable. In a case study, researchers compared the frequency of screening surveys completed to current data on the percentage of cancer patients who commit suicide. This course will discuss those findings as well as other aspects of this topic.

    • Recognize the need for a better evaluation process to screen patients at risk of committing suicide.
    • Compare data in a clinic setting of how often screenings are completed with the percentage of suicide risks according to current research.
    • Identify whether the number of patients seeing a social worker in a cancer clinic correlates with the given data of how many cancer patients are at risk of committing suicide.
  • Using Interprofessional Education to Reduce Cognitive Bias in Health Care
    Sunday, October 25
    3:20 p.m.-4:20 p.m.
    Hollenbeck J Carman Turkelson

    Because cognitive biases in health care can lead to inappropriate decisions and poor care for patients, the presenter initiated a project to determine whether simulation-enhanced interprofessional experiences (Sim-IPE) focused on situational awareness affect health care students’ ability to identify cognitive bias and whether interprofessional teams reduce this risk and improve patient outcomes. The project had three phases: online prelearning activities focusing on cognitive bias, participation in a one-hour Sim-IPE focusing on situational awareness, and student reflections of the activity. The presenter will share highlights of the project during this course, including data from the simulation and from the self-reflections.

    • Define situational awareness and cognitive bias.
    • Be able to discuss an IPE example with health care workers and students to make them aware of the risks of cognitive biases.
    • Explain the importance of interprofessional experiences as they relate to cognitive bias in health care settings.
  • Protons – Science, Compliance, Coding and Documentation
    Sunday, October 25
    3:20 p.m.-4:20 p.m.
    Ronald DiGiaimo, M.B.A., FACHE
    Revenue Cycle Coding Strategies

    This course will discuss the science of protons, how they work with pediatrics and adults with cancer, the cost and operations of proton use, and the applicable coding and documentation of proton use. Proton use claims the majority of existing CPT codes, other than proton treatment delivery codes, and the process used to document medically necessary proton use and to bill proton use varies. The presenter will cover those topics as well as the worldwide proliferation of protons and how they are expanding and growing in popularity and paving the way for carbon, neon and helium particles.

    • Understand the clinical relevance of protons today and in the future.
    • Understand the coding and documentation for protons.
    • Understand the cost structure and resources needed for protons.
    • Understand how research and the abscopal effect are affected.
    • Compare and contrast protons and photons.

    CE Disclaimers*: A, B, C, D


CE Disclaimers

A: This course has been approved for 1 Category A credit

B: This course has been approved for 1 MDCB credit

C: ASRT has determined in its best judgment that this course has content directly related to the use of ionizing radiation and may be accepted as “direct” for Texas licensed R.T.s.

D: ASRT has determined in its best judgment that this course content meets requirements for California Licensed R.T.s. Radiologic Technologists listed in California can claim credit for this course by manually submitting their course completion information to the State of California.

E: ASRT has determined in its best judgment that this course content meets digital radiography requirements for California licensed R.T.s. Radiologic Technologists licensed in California can claim credit for this course by manually submitting their course completion information to the State of California.