Navigate Up

UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Senior Director
Telephone: 412-586-9777



UPMC Media Relations

Online Auditing of Radiation Oncologists Encourages Use of Evidence-Based Clinical Pathways, UPMC Study Finds

MIAMI BEACH, Oct. 5, 2011 – Implementing and auditing evidence-based guidelines developed to treat a specific disease, called clinical pathways, in a large, comprehensive cancer center network successfully changed physician practice patterns, improved patient care and reduced health care costs, according to UPMC Cancer Centers research presented today in Miami Beach at the American Society for Radiation Oncology annual meeting.

According to the researchers, the purpose of the study was to determine whether a clinical pathway that was implemented in 2004 for palliative radiation therapy for cancer that had spread to the bone changed practice patterns throughout more than 25 UPMC Cancer Centers in western Pennsylvania. In 2009, physicians throughout the network were required to enter their patient management plans for that pathway into an online system for monitoring.

“Prior to the online auditing, we found community physicians were more likely than academic physicians to recommend longer courses of radiation therapy for palliative care, when shorter courses of treatment were effective,” said Sushil Beriwal, M.D., a radiation oncologist with UPMC Cancer Centers who led the study. “This difference remained despite the implementation of the clinical pathway, but it changed once we started the online auditing portion of the study. The auditing encouraged our academic and community physicians to favor a shorter course of treatment, which reduced the radiation levels that patients were exposed to while still managing their pain. It allowed us to establish a uniformity of care throughout the network and lowered costs as well.”

This study was sponsored by UPMC Cancer Centers.

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA |