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
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