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 has launched the Canadian Big Radiotherapy Data Initiative (CBRTDI).  The initiative aims to provide guidance on how to implement standardized nomenclature within your program and how to get prepared for pan-Canadian data sharing.

Standardized nomenclature across programs, provinces, regions and 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.

What will be done next

CPQR aims to provide guidance to support the use of common nomenclature throughout radiation programming as described in American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Task Group 263 Standardizing nomenclatures in radiation oncology (TG263).  A document entitled “Guidance on the use of common nomenclature in Canadian radiation treatment programs,” will be provided to harmonize community practice and improve quality performance and patient outcomes. We will then analyze its use and acceptance within practice.  Stay tuned for important updates!