Don’t buy equipment, identify the right vendor.
The bunkers that will contain the proton therapy equipment are purpose-built for this equipment. The bunkers have to house large machines and are to meet shielding requirements. With walls between 2 and 3 meters thick the bunker is to be no bigger than necessary. Each vendor has specific requirements with respect to the design of the bunkers (e.g. for cabling purposes). Consequently a vendor lock-in occurs when buying proton therapy equipment. For this reason alone it is only sensible to take a look not just at the performance of the equipment but also at the performance of the vendor.
A proton therapy center has to remain successful for a period of at least two decades. During this time its clinical benefits shall outweigh those of conventional radiotherapy. As conventional radiotherapy continues to develop (e.g. online volumetric imaging (MR Linac) and adaptive planning) also proton therapy must keep innovating. What vision does a vendor have for the future of proton therapy? What innovations are lined up? How easy will it be to implement them?
Realising a proton therapy center is a major challenge. It doesn’t stop at constructing a building and installing procured equipment either. A proton therapy center comes with additional challenges. Challenges with respect to IT-infrastructure, the development of new work procedures, the integration of existing clinical services, training of personnel, education of stakeholders (including potential referrers). Some vendors already provide services in some of these areas. In other areas they can leverage their expertise.
All in all the vendor (its vision, its services, its expertise) will be of greater importance to the success of the proton therapy center than just the functionality of the equipment it is selling today. Trees with Character will help with identifying the right vendor for your project. Also in case of a public tender.
If you found this to be of interest perhaps you may want to read the following original contributions: Solutions in proton therapy — for initiatives (a report), Procuring proton therapy equipment (a case) and A Business Case for a proton therapy initiative (a case).Back to all explanations Message me about this explanation
Patient selection and patient referral are pivotal.
Many proton therapy centers struggle because of unrealistic projections of patients being treated. But even when making a realistic projection, the challenges of patient selection and referral remain.Read more
Proton Therapy’s biggest problem is lack of transparency.
Proton Therapy's biggest problem is lack of transparency. Initiatives don't share their overall aims, vendors focus on technology. Everybody is blind to the other side's needs and capabilities. But there is another way.Read more
Proton therapy technology is the least of your worries.
There is too much risk in the field of proton therapy, but the problem is not the technology. Focussing on technology often results in underestimating the real challenges. Challenges a vendor may help you with.Read more
You can start to minimise risk in proton therapy today.
A decision is a conclusion reached after careful consideration. If you have to think it means something is not transparent. Each decision increases risk. Risk is minimised by unambiguous aims and access to expertise. You find it here.Read more