Physics Direct Patient Care Initiative

Overview

We believe medical physicists should utilize their unique knowledge and skillset to broaden their impact on patient care. First and foremost, medical physicists must move beyond the common perception that they only work behind the scenes to ensure the successful delivery of treatment. Instead, clinical medical physicists should expand the scope of the profession by establishing independent professional relationships with patients. The Physics Direct Patient Care Initiative is instrumental to our mission of developing a new clinical role for medical physicists. Learn more about the motivation and our vision for this initiative from our recent Red Journal Opinion: Care for Patients, Not for Charts: A Future for Clinical Medical Physics.

A NEW CLINICAL ROLE

At UC San Diego, the Physics Direct Patient Care Initiative is fundamentally challenging what it means to be a clinical medical physicist. Learn how we believe this initiative is redefining the role of the clinical medical physicist.

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Research

Our team is evaluating the impact of physics direct patient care on patient experience and operational efficiency through a series of clinical trials and research projects. After the Physics Direct Patient Care Initiative protocol was established through a pilot study, we completed a prospective Phase II trial to examine patient anxiety, technical satisfaction, and overall satisfaction. We’re currently conducting a Phase III trial with a larger randomized cohort of patients, which is examining the same endpoints in addition to health literacy and time commitment. Learn more about this research from our recent Red Journal Article: Establishing a New Clinical Role for Medical Physicists: A Prospective Phase II Trial.

Establishing a Relationship with the Patient

Medical physicists meet with patients at two timepoints during the course of treatment. Physicist-patient consults take place immediately prior to the CT simulation and first treatment.

Creating Personalized Information for Patients

Medical physicists create personalized infographics for patients to help explain the treatment planning process, treatment delivery process, and ensure that all technical information is addressed.

Changing the Way Patients Perceive their Treatment

The Phase II clinical trial showed decreases in patient anxiety (Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), with the largest decrease correlating with the longest and most involved physicist-patient consult.

Addressing the Technical Satisfaction of Patients

The Phase II trial showed an increase in patient technical satisfaction, a metric used to assess the patient's satisfaction with their understanding and the time devoted to explaining their treatment.

Ensuring a High Level of Patient Satisfaction

The Phase II trial showed an increase in patient overall satisfaction, indicating  that patients were increasingly satisfied with their overall radiation oncology experience when receiving physicist-patient consults.



Residency Training

Our residency program is designed to produce medical physicists that have the skills necessary to become leaders in our evolving field. This means providing residents with formal training on how to effectively communicate with patients and incorporating them into research that is examining the benefits of establishing independent professional relationships with patients. We achieve this through didactic learning and hands-on experience, which includes simulated patient interactions and supervised interactions with real patients. We want our residents to have the confidence and knowledge to look at our profession broadly and to actively pursue innovative roles in direct patient care that add value to the field of radiation oncology. Learn more about our training program from our recent JACMP Article: A Program to Train Medical Physicists for Direct Patient Care Responsibilities.

"We want our residents to have the confidence to look at our profession broadly and to actively pursue innovative roles in direct patient care that add value to radiation oncology." 

Patient Communication Workshop

We are also dedicated to training other medical physicists, residents, and students on how to effectively communicate with patients. We currently host a Patient Communication for Medical Physicists (PCMP) Workshop at UC San Diego twice a year. This two-day workshop is designed to be an exciting and engaging learning experience, including didactic training, analysis of patient interactions, role playing exercises, and simulated patient interactions. The next workshop will be held May 1-2, 2020 (register here). For more information, contact Todd Atwood, Derek Brown, or Titania Juang.

PCMP WORKSHOP

Learn and use prescriptive communication strategies to develop positive, productive professional relationships with patients. Join us at UC San Diego for our next Patient Communication for Medical Physicists Workshop.

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Patient Communication for Medical Physicists Workshop from UCSD Rad Onc Learning Center on Vimeo.                     

                      


Team

The Physics Direct Patient Care Initiative team includes medical physicists and radiation oncologists from the Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences. The team is committed to facilitating the development of more impactful innovations and new clinical responsibilities for clinical medical physicists. Learn more about our team below.

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Derek Brown PhD

Medical Physicist

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Todd Atwood PhD

Medical Physicist

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Titania Juang PhD

Medical Physicist

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Kevin Moore PHD

Medical Physicist

 
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Jim Murphy MD

Radiation Oncologist

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Todd Pawlicki PhD

Medical Physicist

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Arno J. Mundt MD

Radiation Oncologist


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