[Editor] D.R., tell us about your experience with Varian over the past 14 years.
D.R. Ollech: I was involved in two principal areas: Project Management (PM) and Design & Construction. Early on, I was a Sr. Project Manager in the Eastern quarter of the United States (U.S.) – responsible for the coordination and delivery of Varian’s treatment and software systems to customers. In addition to the delivery, the projects I managed included installations of various linear accelerator models ranging from TrueBeams to Clinac 600C/D’s, as well as treatment software such as VARiS/ARIA and Eclipse. I was also involved with working on BrainLAB Novalis units. Further into my career, I directed the newly-formed Western PM Region, leading a team of seven PMs covering the western half of North America, including Alaska and Hawaii.
Looking at a linear accelerator, it is not hard to imagine how difficult it can be to remove one from a medical facility. Not only is it a sophisticated and expensive piece of machinery, but it is also, to put it mildly, huge. To make matters more complicated, this behemoth is surrounded by patients, doctors, and other medical staff hurrying about in the busy hive of activity that is a medical center. Getting one of these out of your facility is no small undertaking.
Despite this, there is quite a lot you can do to minimize the stress and complexity of the actual removal of your machine. This involves careful planning and the right team to facilitate the process. At R.O.S., we strive not just to guide you through this process but to be your partner in executing a successful, efficient, and stress-free removal.
A clinic in eastern Nebraska recently had its CT Scanner’s x-ray tube fail. This meant it was unable to simulate its patients prior to radiation therapy, and so it had to outsource this service—something highly inconvenient for both patients and clinicians.
There were two options: Replace the x-ray tube and spend tens of thousands of dollars on a replacement. Or instead use that money to upgrade and replace its CT scanner, to a later, faster model. They chose the latter option and called the R.O.S. team to assist.
In what we consider a very exciting project, R.O.S. recently helped start a new cancer center in Pennsylvania. When the doctor in charge decided to take on opening a new clinic, he knew, after completing a previous project with us, that R.O.S. would be up to the challenge of providing the required equipment necessary. And so, we did.
R.O.S. sold and installed a Varian iX Silhouette with OBI linear accelerator and a Toshiba Aquilion Large Bore CT Simulator. The package also included patient positioning lasers, a power conditioner, a chiller, Safe CT XR29 (a proprietary dose management solution for CT scanners), and a treatment planning system from Prowess, Inc.
When it comes to removing and installing linear accelerators, speed is of utmost importance. A linear accelerator replacement is a huge logistical undertaking that can cause a lot of stress for both doctors and patients in radiation oncology centers. The physical process, from start to finish, can take as long as six weeks. While this may not have a huge impact on a hospital or larger facility that has multiple machines, for a smaller, free-standing clinic that is replacing its only machine, the effect it has on revenue and treatment schedules can be very severe. Doctors have to refer their patients out until the new machine is ready, which can potentially lead to loss of revenue for the facility and potentially harmful inconvenience for the patient.
What happens to pre-owned Linear Accelerators?
In one week, a new radiation oncology clinic in Bolivia will begin using its new linear accelerator (Varian 6EX) to treat cancer patients, giving millions of people in need access to modern and lifesaving technology. This clinic is only one of six in the entire nation of 11 million people, and it will begin operations due to its partnership with R.O.S.!
Bolivia is a country in desperate need of better and more widespread cancer treatment. In a comprehensive study of cancer in Latin America done by The Economist, Bolivia scored the lowest on their Cancer Control scorecard (which serves as a metric of comparison regarding the control and access to cancer treatment). The country scored a 7 out of 30. In fact, access to cancer treatment is so poor in Bolivia, that the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Association), has instituted an official project to improve Bolivian cancer treatment and prevention efforts.
Oncoserv is the proud recipient of The Bizz Awards 2019 prize as an “Inspirational Company.” The award is presented to international organizations that inspire the world and their staff with exceptional products and services. The trophy was presented to the CEO, Dr. Luis Coronado, in Miami Beach, on July 26, 2018.
Oncoserv operates two cancer clinics in the Dominican Republic, and uses state-of-the-art technology to treat hundreds of cancer patients annually. They staff a talented pool of clinicians from all over the world, and operate state-of-the art radiation therapy and diagnostic imaging equipment.
Radiology Oncology Systems, Inc. (“R.O.S.”) of San Diego, California, announces another installation of Cyrpa Patient Positioning Lasers in the United States.
St. Charles Medical Center’s radiation therapy department chose CYRPA Lasers to put into its new vault housing an Elekta linear accelerator because of its state-of-the-art capabilities, including dual-diode (dual color) laser beams and auto-calibration.
This is the second installation of CYRPA Lasers St. Charles Medical Center has coordinated with R.O.S.; the first set of lasers being installed earlier this year in May.
Radiology Oncology Systems presents the Swissray SR Pulse 710™ Wide Bore MRI system. It offers the widest internal bore of 71cm (about 28 inches). Due to the wide bore, this system doesn’t discriminate patient size and therefore allows access to all patients who need an MRI. It also allows for simulation in radiation therapy.
The system’s intelligent automated protocols offer high throughput and is built around a ZBO (zero boil-off) magnet which eliminates cryogen replacement. Combining these two qualities, and its affordable purchase price makes a very low number of procedures necessary to break even.
Many patients might feel apprehensive about undergoing an MRI examination. The open bore design of the Toshiba Vantage Titan Large Bore 1.5T creates a comfortable space in which patients of all sizes can feel at ease. Additionally, the Titan is incredibly quiet, adding to the patient’s overall comfort throughout the examination. Quietness also helps to reduce patient movement and increases the chance to image quickly, often without sedation.
Having a large bore system at your facility also enables you to reach a larger portion of the population, ultimately leading to increased revenue. For those interested in minimizing upfront capital costs, buying a pre-owned Titan system may be a smart financial investment. A pre-owned Titan is often half the price of a new system and reimbursement rates remain the same. This comfortable, safe, and user-friendly system is ideal for patient focused care and can be purchased affordably through Radiology Oncology Systems.