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/.