Case Study | July 08, 2013 | RaySearch Laboratories

Located throughout New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley, Health Quest has developed partnerships with four different radiation oncology centers. These forward-thinking partners join forces to offer a truly integrated healthcare environment. The partnership is based on a clear vision to improve the healthcare of the communities by providing quality patient care through a commitment to excellence, innovation and state-of-the-art technologies.  

Health Quest uses the most sophisticated technologies available, combined with its comprehensive multidisciplinary group of medical and social services, resulting in the most advanced and innovative solutions for all of its patients. Its radiation oncology program consists of the Murphy Center for Radiation Oncology/Dyson Center for Cancer Care at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie; the Agarwal Center for Radiation Oncology at Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel; the Fishkill Radiation Oncology Center in Fishkill; and Ulster Radiation Oncology Center in Kingston.

Treatment Planning Software at the Heart of Radiation Oncology

Radiation therapy treatment planning software is at the heart of any radiation oncology program. The software is used to capture the patient-specific information such as tumors and normal tissues, and is then used to create complex beam arrangements and dose distributions with an understanding of what the radiation actually does inside the patient. To do this accurately and effectively takes advanced algorithms written into the software code. The technology is so complex that only a few vendors have chosen to compete in the space. However, when Health Quest needed to upgrade its treatment planning software (TPS), it didn’t look to the obvious choices. Instead, Health Quest chose a relatively new player, RaySearch. RaySearch Laboratories is a Swedish-based company that has been writing complex algorithms in other vendors’ treatment planning software systems for more than 12 years. A little over three years ago, the company decided to develop its own treatment planning system, with the addition of core features other vendors didn’t offer. Dan Pavord, chief medical physicist of the Health Quest stated, “The opportunity to purchase a new treatment planning system came up when we were at the point with our existing system, where a six-figure hardware upgrade would be required to support future versions of the software. We launched a comprehensive effort to begin looking at all options. RaySearch’s software, called RayStation, immediately impressed us with features like Multi Criteria Optimization and Adaptive Replanning. These are features that will allow us to greatly reduce our initial planning time and allow our staff to spend time ensuring that the planned dose is ultimately delivered to the patient. Given RaySearch’s history, with the successful development of innovative software, we felt comfortable entering a long-term relationship with the company. We also saw this as an opportunity to enter into a partnership that would allow us to contribute to the direction of the software development. RaySearch has lived up to that promise and we look forward to a continuing partnership.”

A Custom Configuration that Fits Expanding Needs

Introducing a new planning system across four facilities with 11 physicists and dosimetrists is no easy feat. However, Health Quest has done so and is currently clinically using the software at all four of their facilities. “One other benefit to choosing RayStation was that we could create a configuration that best fit our needs,” explained physicist Patricia Sansourekidou. “The staff of RaySearch was able to create a custom configuration for us that uses a hybrid Citrix environment. We have one standalone system at each center and use Web-enabled Citrix to plan from any PC at any of our centers. We even have our physicians utilizing Fujitsu notebook tablets for contouring and plan review as well as flexibility in organizational setup. Plus, RayStation uses a true floating license structure, which allowed us to be creative in purchasing optional items.”

With a hardware configuration that is flexible and meets the facilities’ needs, along with software options that take treatment planning to the next level, Health Quest can deliver on its promise and mission to the communities it serves. RaySearch’s advanced and economically viable software is the catalyst to this commitment and vision. 

Case study supplied by RaySearch Laboratories.


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