Consideration When Buying A Linear Accelerator


Purchasing a new Linear Accelerator can be a very costly investment that can range between $1 million and upwards to over $5 million. This cost alone is not the only expected fees associated with this equipment since delivery charges and secondary equipment such as a simulator, treatment planning computer, the treatment room itself, and the compensation for the radiographers/ physicist salaries. There is a lot of options to consider when replacing or installing new radiotherapy equipment and a few helpful tips below may help make the decision process a little simpler.

The Resale Value

Before purchasing any new or refurbished linear accelerator, it is important to ask yourself the question “How much will my Linac system be worth if choosing to replace or upgrade it in the future?” The answer to this may affect your company’s ability to purchase equipment in the future so the best way to solve this is by three other factors. First is obsolescence, this factor will greatly impact the long-term maintenance of any equipment. As parts continue to get older, replacement parts will become more and more difficult to locate for obsolete equipment. This also will make service personal harder to find as well since they will not be as familiar with repairs on older machines. Research the manufacturing company and choose one that has been in business for a decent amount of time, If you feel the company will not be around in the next ten years it will most likely not have very good resale value.

Re-licensing Fees

When shopping for a new linear accelerator, if a machine requires new relicensing it will become more costly to a buyer hence making it less attractive for purchase. Providing the license on the equipment will increase the demand which will, in turn, make it have a higher resale value as well. Company’s such as Varian and Elekta have always had higher resale value because of the licensing fees/ software and relocation charges being less than their competitors.

Technology Reimbursements

The centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services utilize reimbursement rates to entice clinicians to accept the use of new, proven treatment for the future. For example, several years ago when CMS code 77421 was released, image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) became widely accepted and hundreds of linear accelerators were upgraded, therefore. A linear accelerator that has the technology to benefit from higher reimbursement rates which certainly affect the price of a machine in the market of used equipment. Systems that use IMRT, IGRT, and CBCT technology will lead more than machines without these capabilities. The future can be a mystery when attempting to predict which technologies will be reimbursed in the following years but company’s such as Varian and Elekta have a long history of systems that have the possibility for upgrades which has helped them increase in value on used products.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.



What is Equipment Relocation?

Linear accelerators and CT simulators are large, that’s obvious. Any business who has obtained an accelerator understands the headache of moving such a large and delicate machine to their offices. When moving offices or simply needing to move an accelerator from one place to another there are companies that have staff on hand who are specialized in moving this equipment so you the business owner do not have to worry about how it’s going to get done. These companies offer a range of services related to accelerator relocation so there should be a service to fit any needs a business may have.

Quality Moving

The companies that specialize in moving large equipment are specialized because of the talent on hand. These employees are specially trained to handle large equipment moving with ease and delicacy that these machines require and can do so with advanced logistics that other companies do not possess. With these logistics intact these companies can ensure your equipment is free from damage of any kind during the moving process and can move the equipment over a small area to even internationally. You’ve no-doubt seen videos of unqualified employees attempting to move large equipment and failing miserably causing thousands of dollars of damage to the company, so it pays tremendously to hire a professional relocation company that can handle the move in a professional and careful manner.

Installation         

Simply moving equipment is great, but what about those who need it and moved as well as installed in their offices? Equipment relocation isn’t just moving equipment from one place to another but also making sure the instrument is properly installed using the correct tools for the job. The machines usually involved in relocation such as linear accelerators are simply impossible to move on your own, so the crews at these relocation companies are able to use specific rigging materials to make sure the equipment is lifted and moved to right where it needs to be as carefully as can be. The process of installing the electrical components of these instruments is also handled by professional and experienced engineering specialist who can handle the job with the proper care and respect.

Testing

Once an instrument like a linear accelerator is moved to a new location and properly installed in the right spot in the office it still requires careful calibration before it can be used properly. The companies that supply relocation services also provide physics support related to calibration and testing. This completes the full suite of process and steps necessary when transporting a large instrument like a linear accelerator from one office to another and is a full suite that certain relocation companies can offer.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.

Key Points to Consider for Linac Removal

Removing a 25,000 lb piece of machinery from a medical clinic or hospital, what could go wrong? It can be crucial to other surrounding equipment and to your facility to have safe and efficient removal services performed so that your facility will have peace of mind knowing that this process will be handled correctly. A few tips below will help this removal process go more smoothly and will get you to the goal of out with the out and in with the new more quickly.

Removal Path

To start, cleaning of any removable clutter is always overlooked and can become an obstacle that can be avoided. Measuring will be the next step to take when its time to start moving any type of equipment. A tape measurer will be your best friend since when it comes to moving high or low energy linacs, each have a minimum requirement for the number of inches required for room clearance.  Accurately measuring all building doors including the vault and outside door along the removal path is very important. Prior to the arrival or replacement equipment, a professional vendor will request a rig info sheet to be submitted to guarantee that there is no door frames or walls that will need to be removed. If the vendor does not ask about the measurements beforehand, this is a red flag that you should be looking for equipment elsewhere.

Safety Concerns

When transporting heavy equipment at any times, the safety of the removal team is of utmost importance. If the above-mentioned measurements are done inaccurately and realize that a vault door must be removed with late notice, this will pose a very big safety hazard. Depending on size, vault doors can easily weigh a few thousand pounds and unfortunate deaths have resulted when removal of these doors have been done incorrectly. When they doors need to be removed, it is critical that they are removed by professionals that have experience in the field.  Last minute decisions for vault door removal will also cut into extra expenses that was not part of the company budget so it again if very important for the measurements to be calculated right the first time. Proper liability insurance should be provided by your vendor when on site during the removal process as well.

Loading Space

Once you have the old equipment outside the next step is often overlooked as well. The loading area needs to have enough space in order to load the linear accelerator into trailer for transportation. Facilities will typically need to block off any side streets or parking spots to allow a safe loading area. If loading space is unavailable, the removal team will need to utilize a forklift of suitable size to lift and move machinery to the trailer manually.

Facility Jobs

No matter the size or details of removal that is performed, there will be responsibilities of the facility that will be requested. Generally, the removal team will ask local facility engineers, electricians, or plumbers to turn off the water or other power sources that are attached to the specific equipment that is being removed. This will protect the office building from having potentially dangerous live power to the area and helps to not disrupt any of the surrounding rooms that lighting and power may be connected to as well. Many times, the facility will manage and schedule the removal times so that it is occurring after hours or assist in security throughout the building.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.

Improving LINAC Service Response Time


Linear accelerators and complex support devices are at the heart of today’s radiation oncology.  As technology continues to advance and change the way in which LINAC systems treat cancerous tumors, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage the way in which equipment maintenance, malfunction, and breakdowns are managed.  The strategies to manage quality, mitigate risk and analyze failures have improved to adjust to the changing needs of radiation oncology equipment. 

Manufacturers of oncology equipment add guidelines to ensure successful management of equipment maintenance including system monitoring and cyclical measurements of key functions verse pre-specified tolerances.  This information was previously documented by hand whereas in today’s environment data can be recorded, distributed company-wide, and stored electronically. IT plays an integral role in storing and managing the data which can then be integrated into the everyday workflow in the radiation oncology department.    

Work to cultivate IT clinical management solutions in the radiation department is often done in house working in collaboration with equipment vendors.  This process is an essential component in quality management of radiation oncology equipment services

Service and support of linear accelerators are a key element in quality management in the radiation oncology department.  In most facilities, radiation therapists will report all technical problems with the LINAC to a clinical medical physicist who then reports the events of the machine’s failure to the vendor’s dispatch center to schedule support.  When this call is made the therapist or physicist reporting the LINAC failure will provide the identification of the linear accelerator, the location of the machine, and a detailed report of the problem including what issues led up to the failure..

Depending on where the machine is located, the vendors dispatch center will provide information to equipment engineers at their technical support help desk.  Together the user and engineers will attempt to diagnosis the issue at hand and coordinate actions for repair. 

Facilities looking to improve the efficiency of support and service to linear accelerators when failure occurs can implement key changes in the overall process.  These procedure modifications include:

  • Lessen the number of steps involved in reporting the LINAC failure to the vendor’s support team.
  • Reduce duplication and surplus in the diffusion of information related to the linear accelerators’ failure.
  • Record events electronically for improvement and evaluation of delivering services related to LINAC maintenance and repairs.
  • Utilize remote support from vendor approved engineers that are familiar with the installed system and its maintenance and service history.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.



3 Tips For Installing or Replacing a Linear Accelerator

New linear accelerators can cost a medical facility between 1 and 5 million dollars.  The expense of owning a LINAC does not stop once it has ben purchased.  There are items outside of the actual equipment purchase such as a simulator, training computers, treatment rooms, salaries, ongoing training, operation expenses, maintenance, repairs, and more.  The total cost of large scaled medical equipment is never one that should be underestimated.  Whether you are installing a brand new or refurbished linear accelerator, installing a LINAC for the first time, or replacing an existing one there are three tips the professionals at Acceletronics want to give you.

Step One – Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

The installation planning process for a linear accelerator takes between six months to eight years.  The length of time for planning your project can span almost any length of time.

  • When planning new technology, you will first want to establish the technology that you need in order to treat patients.  What types of cases will you be treating?  Consider the options IMRT, IGRT, and so on.
  • If you are installing a linear accelerator in new construction, you will want to consider the constraints that come along with that.  What local permits do you need, do you have the proper power supply needed for this large scaled equipment, are there constraints that will limit your installation?  If you are renovating a space consider the rooms constraints, size, location of isocenter and so forth.
  • Create a timeline for major milestones.  When will the vault be completed, when are vendors scheduled to install computers?  When planning these things consider potential areas where conflict can occur and come up with a backup plan.
  • Once the goals are established, a budget is needed to acquire the new equipment.  Consider other aspects as well such as training, equipment needed to run the LINAC and treat patients, and the extra items that can be forgotten about when focusing on the large scaled purchase.

Step Two – Hire Based on Experience

When hiring a team of professionals, it is crucial that you hire experts.  Experts are needed for designing the vault, construction, providers of equipment and supplies, IT support, clinical implementation teams, and such.  Don’t trade cost for quality.  Sometimes a little bit more money now can save you a great deal of money later on down the road.  Ask for references when working with different vendors.  Hire only those vendors that understand the collaboration effort needed to install medical equipment such as CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators. 

Step Three – Commit to Quality

When buying a used or refurbished linear accelerator there is a three-step process that you should follow to ensure you get a machine that meets your needs and beyond.  These steps include: a review of the LINAC’s service history (look at major service events such as waveguide replacement), review the machine’s utilization and beam hours, and perform a physical inspection of the machine. 

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.

What is a Linear Accelerator and What Does it Do?

Linear accelerators, LINAC, are used in the treatment of cancer.  High energy x-rays (electrons) are shaped to conform to the size and shape of the patient’s tumor and delivered using a LINAC.   The radiation, simply put, is used to destroy cancerous cells.  They are delivered in the shape of the tumor to hopefully eliminate damage to the healthy tissues surrounding the cancerous tumor.  A LINAC offers several built-in features, depending on the model, that make sure that the prescribed dose of radiation is delivered.

If radiation has been scheduled and will be delivered using a linear accelerator your radiation oncologist will work in conjunction with both a radiation dosimetrist and medical physicist to create a treatment plan that is uniquely designed for you.  Your physician will review your treatment plan with you before it begins and put quality assurance procedures in place to be certain that all parties involved are on the same page and that your treatment will be delivered in the exact same manner.

What is linear accelerator equipment used for?

LINAC, which is short for linear accelerator, is a large-scale piece of medical equipment used in external beam radiation treatment.  Radiation is a treatment option that is given to patients that have been diagnosed with cancer.  Linear accelerators are used to treat a variety of cancers throughout the body.  The LINAC distributes high-energy x-rays (electrons) directly on to the cancerous tumor.  The treatment is deployed in a manner that allows the healthy tissues to receive less of a direct hit than the tumor to help prevent damage.  Several techniques are used when delivering radiation from LINAC systems including:

  • Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
  • Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT)
  • Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)
  • Stereotactic Body Radio Therapy (SBRT)

How does a LINAC work?

Microwave technology is used in LINAC to speed up electrons within the wave guide (a part inside the linear accelerator).  It then lets the sped-up electrons to strike a dense metal target to produce the high-energy x-ray that is delivered to the cancerous tumor.  Before the radiation (high-energy x-ray beams) are delivered they are shaped into custom beams that match up with the patient’s unique tumor.

Radiation beams are manipulated into the shape of the tumor as they exit the LINAC by a multi-leaf collimator.  The multi-leaf collimator is uniquely designed to each patient and is integrated into the head of the LINAC.  Patients are required to lie completely motionless on a treatment couch.  In order to make sure that the patient is in the correct position laser are used as guides.  The couch that patients are lying on can be manipulated about to make sure the laser beams are in the correct location.  radiation beams are directed out of the LINAC through the gantry.  The gantry revolves around the patient on the couch.  Radiation can literally be delivered from any number of angles simply by rotating the gantry on the LINAC and moving the couch that the patient is lying on.

Who runs the LINAC?

Radiation therapy is prescribed by a patient’s radiation oncologist.  They are the individual in charge of making sure you receive the appropriate dosage of radiation.  Together a medical physicist and dosimetrist decide how the prescribed dose of radiation will be delivered and how long the process will take.  Finally, a radiation therapist will operate the LINAC to give the patient the prescribed dose of radiation treatment.

How is the patient’s safety guaranteed?

The safety of the patient and the radiation therapist are of utmost importance and therefore secured in several ways throughout treatment.   Before treatment is carried out a unique plan is created.  This strategy is evaluated and approved through a few specialists working together including your radiation oncologist, radiation dosimetrist, and medical physicist.  The proposal is double, and triple checked before treatment can be delivered and quality-assurance procedures are done to make sure that the therapy is delivered according to the plan.

LINAC safety is also another important factor in quality assurance.  Linear accelerators have several built-in features that work to ensure a proper dose of radiation is given.  Daily equipment checks are performed on linear accelerators.  Radiation therapists check to ensure radiation intensity is uniform throughout the beam.  Monthly checks are performed by medical physicists monthly and annually on linear accelerators. There are also several internal checks within the LINAC that don’t let the machine run unless all the prescribed treatment requirements are in place.

Radiation therapists continue to observe the patient during treatment using closed-circuit TV monitors.  A microphone is in place within the treatment room to allow patients and therapists to speak during treatment.  Imaging tools are regularly examined to be sure that beam position is the same as it was in the original plan.

The LINAC operator is crucial as well.  Linear accelerator equipment sits within a room that consists of lead and concrete walls.  This prevents radiation beams from exiting the treatment room.  LINAC systems only release radiation when it is turned on so the accidental risk of exposure to radiation is low.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.

Planning for and Purchasing a Linear Accelerator

A lot of different aspects go into the purchasing procedure of equipment used throughout medical facilities, health clinics, and hospitals.  Unlike other business, hospitals are not only looking for equipment that is affordable, they are searching for equipment that provides clients with effective treatment, precise results, and quality care.  In order to do so, the purchasing team of the facility must work in conjunction with physicians and critical care staff to plan for new equipment purchases.

Planning & Understanding Your Clinical Goals

Critical personnel must understand the clinical goals of the clients.  Right from the start it is important that all facility members involved recognize the types of patients that will be treated, and the technology needed to deliver top notch radiation therapy to them.  Is important that you are fully automated and digital?  Does the facility need to consider EPID, Electronic Portal Imaging Device?  Will images of tumors be taken on a daily or less frequently?  If you will be then an IGRT solution must be selected.  It is also important to know how the tumor will be defined for treatment.  Are you going to need a multi-leaf collimator with leaves (MLC)?  Answering these questions will help your facility narrow down your exact need and the piece of equipment that will fill these needs.

Another crucial element in planning for a new piece of equipment, especially one as large as a linear accelerator, CT scanner, or other radiotherapy equipment is the location in which it will be installed.  In new construction you will have to consider the machines that are to be places now as well as technology that will be used in the future.  It will be crucial that the building has room for expansion for further equipment purchases as well as the technology appropriate for today’s need.  When renovating an existing space within the facility it is important to consider all of the constraints present such as shielding.

Having an established timetable for any project, especially the installation of LINAC systems, is the only way to successfully manage a successful health care facility when the normal flow could be disrupted.  Of course, it also helps prevent common sense issues such as having a space that is ready for equipment when it is delivered to be installed, set up, programmed, and ready for hands on training.  What good is a piece of equipment it is sitting in the hallway unable to be used?  It is important for facilities and personnel to establish a timetable for each milestone along the way, including a completion date.  There are many moving elements, including a number of experts, when installing a large scaled piece of equipment.  To prevent IT specialists from arriving before the equipment is ready for them to complete software installation and such, a timeline is necessary.

Once a clinical goal and time table have been set, now comes the time to create a budget for the acquisition of your new equipment.  Once a budget is set you will know if you should look into new, refurbished, or used equipment.  Quality refurbished linear accelerators and reconditioned CT scanners are ideal when working within a budget.  Prices vary for a number of reasons including: the age of the equipment, features, technology, and manufacturer.  When budgeting for large scaled equipment make sure to allocate for additional products and services that will be needed to use them successfully.  Radiation therapy includes large scaled equipment such as linear accelerators but also patient positioning devices and the such.  It is just as important to budget for the extras as it is the initial piece of equipment.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.

Predictive Maintenance: A Strong Strategy for The Longevity of LINAC Systems

If you are responsible for the operation of the linear accelerator equipment at your facility than you already know that to keep the machine running as accurately as possible it has to be maintained properly. Whether you are talking about some scheduled outage so that you can run all the necessary tests, do diagnostic and replace parts that have shown that they are in need of replacement before they go out.

 

Establishing a good Predictive Maintenance Schedule

 

One of the best ways to ensure that your Linear Accelerator equipment will be ready to go if it is necessary to be used for treating a patient. One of the ways to ensure that your equipment is running properly is to be sure that all the linear accelerator components are running correctly. Having a good maintenance schedule requires you to have linear accelerator replacements parts to be able to complete certain types of maintenance.

 

Benefits of Predictive Maintenance

 

Dramatically reduce equipment downtime – By being able to identify potential problems before they rise to the level of affecting the proper operation of the linear accelerator equipment. This makes it highly likely that your machine will be available when the need arises for the machine. This also means that you can make plans to have specific linear accelerator replacements parts on hand when they would be needed to be replaced.

 

Diagnostic equipment is considerably cheaper – The latest technology being used in today’s diagnostic equipment and the software that they use to run are cheaper to acquire and this makes them considerably cheaper to use.  When you have the right equipment to do the job, you are far more likely to be able to keep your equipment running properly.

 

It can be used effectively for any size company – The linear accelerator equipment typically uses sensors that make it possible to check the proper operation of the machine. However, this does not offer real-time data, so it is not the most effective method. This is where the diagnostic equipment used in predictive maintenance is far more effective. This makes it possible for more companies to be able to use predictive maintenance, even if they are a smaller size company.

 

Real-time data makes catching potential problems much more likely – When it comes to detecting potential issues having real-time data is the best way to. This is one of biggest advantages to having the diagnostic equipment in the hands of your maintenance personnel to be able to schedule them to proactively check all the components of the machine to ensure that they are working properly.

 

It is the most proactive form of equipment maintenance – There are three distinct forms of equipment maintenance that a company can use to keep its equipment running and reducing downtime. The three types of maintenance are reactive, preventative and proactive maintenance. Each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages when it comes to which one is the better however when patient care is the most important factor, as it in the treatment of cancer, predictive maintenance allows planned downtime instead of emergent care.

 

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.