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Public Health


Vasileios Margaritis


The field of radiation oncology (RO) involves the use of highly advanced techniques to treat cancer and safely spare healthy organs. The discipline has experienced rapid growth in the past 25 years, with technological advancement as the driving force. Available data and an instrument to effectively measure the accessibility of innovation in the field were lacking. The purpose of this study was to investigate the accessibility of innovative services in RO in the United States and assess possible diffusion patterns. Two hundred and forty medical physicists practicing in RO in the United States completed a custom Internet-based survey. The diffusion of innovation theory was used as the theoretical framework for the study. A quantitative cross-sectional analysis was performed to assess how innovation scores may vary depending on individual and organizational factors. ANOVA, Spearman correlation, and multiple linear regression were used to analyze the data. University affiliation, urbanicity, appreciation, and motivation were found to be statistically significant factors affecting accessibility to innovative services. Statistically significant barriers preventing innovation were lack of evidence, increased complexity, staffing constraints, lack of interest from others, lack of interoperability, and lack of reimbursement. Medical physicists are in a leadership position to influence the adoption of innovative services in RO. Encouraging the utilization of innovative and Food and Drug Administration-approved techniques may improve cancer outcomes and consequently have a positive social change effect on public health.