A few weeks ago, I was covering our Radiation Oncology urgent patient service in our Boston clinic, and the number of simulation, or “sim,” appointments crept up to nearly 100 for the week. These are the radiation mapping appointments that precede every patient’s course of radiation treatment. Just a few years ago, seeing 100 sims in a week would have been unthinkable and unmanageable for us.

During the week I was covering, there was, appropriately, no big celebration for reaching this number. For me, however, it represented the culmination of lots of small steps that our department has taken over the years to live up to our commitment of being there for our patients. These include things like changing the sim scheduling model, increasing efficiency to allow shorter sim appointment slots, hiring staff to match demand and implementing a “doc-of-the-day” system to provide physician coverage. No heroics — just the result of purposeful, team-oriented projects that unlocked our potential.

I’ll remember that week for what it was (a celebration of sorts) and what it wasn’t (a disaster of scrambling and rescheduling). It made me proud of what we accomplished working together, and optimistic for the accomplishments we will see in the future.

Neil Martin, MD, MPH
Clinical Director, Department of Radiation Oncology