An Environmental Scan of Advanced Practice Radiation Therapy in the United States: A PESTEL Analysis
Purpose: In 2021, the Advanced Practice Radiation Therapy Working Group (APRTWG) was established in the United States as a grassroots alliance of multidisciplinary radiation oncology professionals—radiation therapists, physicians, dosimetrists, and administrators—located across the country, interested in studying and establishing the Advanced Practice Radiation Therapist (APRT) level of practice in the United States. The APRT model has shown success in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and other countries, documenting the value of the APRT to the quality and advancement of clinical care. In the United States, the APRTWG seeks to coordinate activities, align resources, and drive the national agenda to collectively develop and define novel models of care using APRT in line with the evolving needs of patients and the radiation therapy profession. This environmental scan aims to examine the context of radiation oncology medical practice in the United States to inform pathways ahead for a proposed APRT model through a Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal (PESTEL) analysis.
Methods and Materials: A literature search was conducted to understand the chronological timeline of the development of APRT during the past 25 years. Items that included the activities, scope of practice, and implementation of APRT nationally and internationally were identified. Papers describing advanced practitioner roles that are commonly found in the multidisciplinary team in radiation oncology both in the United States and internationally, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, were excluded.
Results: Despite the environmental scan outcome, it is acknowledged that data collation and analysis was not as robust as that anticipated by undertaking a systematic review. Papers were identified by the lead author that aligned with each of the PESTEL factors. Defined broadly, a new care model can adjust how health services are delivered by incorporating best practices in patient care for a specific population, person, or patient cohort. As patients enter different stages of their disease, the purpose of a new model is to provide individuals with the right care, at the right time, by the right team, in the right place. It is clear that the opportunity for positive change and impact on the current state of practice in radiation oncology exists.
Conclusion: The environmental scan findings demonstrate the complexities associated with implementing APRT in the United States, with multifactorial political, environmental, societal, technological, economic, and legal aspects to consider. The APRTWG will continue to lead and participate in such activities to demonstrate and identify APRT role opportunities in the United States and drive the nationwide implementation of the APRT level of practice in this country.
Journal/Conference/Book titleInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology - Biology - Physics