The ACPSEM Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Workforce Model

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Scott Crowe Presents:   The Launch of the ACPSEM ROMP Workforce Model

From EPSM, November 2021



ACPSEM Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Workforce Modelling Project 

Workforce surveys are crucial to understanding the needs of professionals. For the radiation oncology medical physicist (ROMP) workforce, it is important to understand the impact of changes in the provision of radiation oncology services in response to an aging population and increased incidence of cancer, and changes in practice made possible by technological and clinical advances, as well as networking capabilities of facilities.
The ACPSEM radiation oncology medical physics workforce modelling project was initiated in October 2020 to look at practices in Australia and New Zealand and to develop a workforce model.
The project has now been completed, with two major outcomes: a snapshot of the ROMP workforce and the development of an activity-based workforce calculator for use at departmental and higher levels. 
This ROMP Workforce Snapshot and Model was achieved through the distribution of two surveys that captured the work practice of 182 members and 98 radiation oncology departments in Australia and New Zealand. 
The member survey provided a snapshot of the current (2020) workforce: its demographic data, professional training and qualifications, current working conditions and arrangements, and future plans. 
The ACPSEM collected and validated utilisation data from 98 of the 106 operational radiation oncology treatment centres in Australia and New Zealand in the 2020 calendar year. The principal aim of this survey was to profile the time spent by ROMPs on specific activities. Centres were surveyed on the profile of their centre, ROMP workforce, standard hours, workforce planning and staffing utilisation. 


The ACPSEM ROMP Workforce (ARW) Model

The workforce model was developed using the facility survey response data. It has been designed as a modelling tool applicable at both the facility and system levels.
The ACPSEM Radiation Oncology Specialty Group recommended that the activity-based workforce model be based on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) model [IAEA2015]. The facility survey provided an Australian and New Zealand contextualisation of the volume-based activities defined in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) activity-based radiation oncology staffing model at a granular level. The developed ARW model operates in much the same way as the IAEA model, and calculates staffing requirements that are reflective of current ROMP practices in Australia and New Zealand. Members of the task group successfully validated the model using data from their own facilities, with calculated equivalent ROMP Full time equivalent (FTE) values generally agreeing with current staffing.
The ARW model provides a tool to help understand ROMP workforce requirements (based on Australian and New Zealand practices). The ARW Model is envisaged as a tool to support many types of decision support activity including: planning for new and expanded services based on anticipated service volumes or future scenarios, national/state projections for capacity and larger–scale planning, evaluation of work practices at individual sites as well as benchmarking for provider groups and networks. The tool may also assist the ACPSEM in future TEAP program development, recruitment strategies and broader policy development.
The data captured throughout this project will have value beyond the snapshot and the ARW model, informing future workforce tracking, near and medium-term workforce projections, defining certification policies, and the design or balance of training activities across training years.


 The ACPSEM ROMP Workforce Calculator and Supporting Materials




The development of the survey instruments and ARW model was completed by a project team, consisting of an ACPSEM-appointed project director and professional consultants with expertise in workforce modelling; a task group, consisting of ROMPs who responded to a call for expression of interest distributed by the ACPSEM; and ACPSEM office staff.
ACPSEM wishes to express its gratitude to the members and directors of radiotherapy facilities that completed the member and facilities surveys.
The project was supported financially as part of the Australian Department of Health's 2018-2020 Supporting Medical Physics grant program.