by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | October 13, 2015
From the October 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
HCBN: In addition to what you’ve highlighted, what are some other reasons you believe people should attend?
In a short four-day period, attendees get to learn about the latest technology in our field. They learn about the results of clinical trials and have a chance to see some of the new technology highlighted in our exhibit display area. And of course, they have the chance to see colleagues and renew relationships and build new friendships.
And it’s really an opportunity to interact with radiation oncology professionals that attendees might not otherwise have the chance to meet. The audience travels from around the world. In fact, of the 11,000 attendees, about 20 percent are from Asia, so there are some unique perspectives that lend to a healthy discussion. Of the abstracts, 1,600 are from the U.S. and historically, Japan has had the largest representation from Asia. But this year China surpassed them, with 219 abstracts being presented.
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I think the change has been in part due to China’s growing economy, even if it has had some problems recently, and there’s more of a demand for high-quality cancer care. So people from China are traveling to get a better understanding and increased knowledge about the technology that lends itself to higher-quality care.
HCBN: Are there any big developments for ASTRO that you’d like to highlight?
We have a number of initiatives in the works. For example, through a partnership with the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, we have the RO-ILS (Radiation Oncology Incident Learning System) patient safety initiative that’s specific to radiation oncology. We also have an accreditation program called APEx (Accreditation Program for Excellence) that we’re rolling out this year. Through APEx, we’ll be the accrediting body submitting data and onsite review. We’re also, of course, an active participant in the Choosing Wisely campaign and have continued to build on our work there. The Choosing Wisely campaign is really a campaign for soul-searching for the medical profession and makes professionals really stop and look at the therapies we’re delivering to make sure they’re valuable and necessary. I think it’s a terrific campaign and the best of all societies participate.