News | Radiation Oncology | July 16, 2015

Taiwan Cancer Clinic Replaces Paper Charts With All-Electronic Clinical Process

Varian's Aria oncology information system streamlines workflow in multi-vendor environment

Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center, Varian, Aria, oncology information

July 16, 2015 - The Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center (KF-SYSCC) has established an entirely paperless and filmless clinical process in radiation oncology, designed to enhance patient safety as well as operational efficiency. Using the Aria oncology information system from Varian Medical Systems, the clinical team has automated essential tasks, built in safety-checks and centralized patient information for easier access by staff members.

Aria combines a comprehensive, oncology-specific patient electronic medical record (EMR) with numerous tools for managing clinical, administrative and financial operations in multidisciplinary cancer care settings.

"We were using both Varian and Siemens information management software, but we standardized on Varian's Aria platform. Within three months we had removed all paper charts from the department," said Yeh-Chi Lo, Ph.D., chief of the Department of Medical Physics. "Varian and its local agent, Cooperative C.L. Enterprise Co., provided us with valuable assistance, helping us to configure the Aria software to manage different types of treatment, and to reflect our preferences in terms of clinical workflow. The software is set up to interrupt the clinical workflow at critical junctures unless specific safety checks have been completed and documented."

"Conversion to an electronic process actually made our workflow more efficient, and potentially safer due to careful automation of essential steps," added Skye Hung-Chun Cheng M.D., chief of the Department of Radiation Oncology. "Our goal was to become a fully paperless and filmless department. Aria has also enhanced the communication between our clinical team members."

The KF-SYSCC Radiation Therapy Department is a mixed-vendor environment, treating patients on three Varian linear accelerators including a TrueBeam system plus a Primus-M machine from Siemens.

Seven radiation oncologists working with nine medical physicists at the cancer center offer patients a broad range of advanced treatments, including intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), RapidArc radiotherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT). Clinicians use respiratory gating to compensate for breathing motion during treatments for lung or breast cancer.

The cancer center also manages high-dose-rate brachytherapy and seed implant procedures using the Aria platform, resulting in one comprehensive database of patient information that can be mined for insights about trends and outcomes.

"The future of healthcare will center on the use of evidence-based protocols within a pay-for-performance framework," said Cheng. "Realizing that vision will rely on our ability to mine our clinical data - something that would not be feasible without a comprehensive EMR like Aria."

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