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The Beauty and the Beast: Transition From Film/paper Charts to Paperless Environment with a New TrueBeam/ARIA System in a Small Community Hospital On a Tight Budget


K Chu

K Chu*, B Rasmussen, Marquette General Hospital, Marquette, MI

SU-E-T-228 Sunday 3:00:00 PM - 6:00:00 PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: To review the issues a physicist may encounter in a community hospital during the transition from film/paper charts to a paperless environment with ARIA and a TrueBeam LINAC. With a lean budget, it was necessary for the physics group to take on the project management responsibilities in order save costs. This work highlights the lessons learned during the planning and execution of our project.

Methods: Like many hospitals around the county, our hospital was caught in the economic downturn and was unable to provide all of the capital necessary to upgrade to the radiation oncology department. However, with the support of the hospital foundation, a total of $6M was secured for new LINAC, ARIA and CT simulator. To save costs on facilities and computers, it was necessary for the physics group to be involved in creating architectural drawings for shielding calculations, finding a vendor to remove the old linac, assisting the foundation to raise money, submission of the 'Certificate of Need' approval with the state, negotiation with vendors, IT infrastructure, reviews with the general contractor and vendor's project team, and ultimately writing the commissioning reports for the new systems as well as developing new policies and procedures.

Results: During a period of 4 months, the old LINAC was removed, facility renovations made, the TrueBeam linac was installed, accepted, and commissioned and first patients were treated. In addition, we transitioned from a film/paper environment to a paperless environment. However, this was very stressful for staff and it may be advisable to stage such a project over a longer period of time. There was also significant lost revenue (~$2M) during downtime of construction, installation, and commissioning.

Conclusions: The radiation oncology department was upgraded (The Beauty) on a tight budget but at the cost of added stress (The Beast) to the staff.


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