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Making Expertise Matter in Proton Therapy

Proton Therapy Consultancy for Initiatives.

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When considering providing the treatment modality of Proton Therapy to your patients, the learning curve is steep. For what patients may I expect clinical advantages now and in the future? How many patients would I need to treat to be operationally successful? What features of the equipment are relevant to me and why? What is critical to include in the exploitation model (business case)? How to make sense of all the information the various vendors are providing me with?

Once the decision to realise a Proton Therapy Center is made the selection process of a vendor is often one of the first (and most exciting) challenges. But it is only one out of many as the project navigates the many obstacles of a once-in-a-lifetime project. The fact that it is a once-in-a-lifetime project makes it hard to be prepared to the sometimes particular challenges of a proton therapy project. What to pay attention to? What is critical to do right now and what can wait? Are the vendor’s services of help to our project? How to procure the equipment? How to convince the banks the risks will be successfully mitigated? How to ensure the new work processes will be integrated within the organisation? etc. etc.

Trees with Character has the experience, and the approach, to provide the information, the structure, and the right expertise (from our network) to help you navigate the field of Proton Therapy. Trees with Character will set you up for success against minimal risk. The observations which lie at the root of our solutions have been described in a report (Solutions in Proton Therapy – for initiatives) which you will find here.

Trees with Character provides the following solutions for starting initiatives:

  • Introduction to (overview of) the advantages, the challenges, and the lessons learned in Proton Therapy
  • Development of the Strategic Brief (includes definition of the aim and strategy in relation to the initiative’s environment)
  • Development of a flexible exploitation model (minimal 20 years)
  • Assistance with market consultation

When the initiative turns into a project Trees with Character will be able provide the service of ‘Executive Project Management’ (see here)

Trees with Character can of course be contacted to provide other services in proton therapy if so desired.

Interested, or want more information…

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This is how we make proton therapy a success

Don’t buy equipment, identify the right vendor.

Because of the vendor lock-in for the lifetime of the proton therapy center, the services and capacity for innovation a vendor offers are of much greater importance than current functionality of the equipment. Shift the focus.

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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.

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Independent consultancy made the difference for us.

Proton therapy vendors have a lot of expertise and a need to sell equipment. They may not protest when unrealistic assumptions are made. Some consultants combine great expertise with ties to a vendor. Independent consultancy can make a difference.

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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.

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All explanations >
Patient selection and patient referral are pivotal.

Many proton therapy centers struggle because of an unrealistic projection of the number of patients that will be treated. In the past, and even in the present, the number of patients projected to be treated was simply the number that was required to make the business case look good. Today we know that the most successful centers treat, on average, no more than 300 patients per treatment room. But to achieve even this number takes great effort. There is the challenge of identifying the patients who will benefit from proton therapy, and there is the challenge of getting these people referred to the center.

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Don’t buy equipment, identify the right vendor.

Initiatives who want to provide proton therapy treatments — often hospital organisations — are confronted with very complex and very capital intensive equipment they have never procured before. A proton therapy project is perceived as a major risk, and rightly so. Too many centers have failed or are failing. The risk lies not with the equipment, however. All vendors build reliable machinery delivering identical protons. Not all vendors, however, provide the same expertise and solutions. Initiatives should not focus on technology, but on identifying the vendor who is best able to meet their particular challenges.

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You can start to minimise risk in proton therapy today.

A decision is a conclusion reached after careful consideration. If you have to think about something it means this something is not transparent. If you take a decision when something is not transparent risk increases. This risk is minimised by unambiguous aims and access to expertise. What is it that you need to achieve? Who is the expert that will help you achieve it? Trees with Character helps with both.

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Proton therapy technology is the least of your worries.

Cyclotrons and synchrotrons alike are built to last for decades — as is shown by the early proton therapy centers who became operational in the previous millennium. To this day, however, the complexity of the equipment often is an initiative’s biggest concern and many resources are spent on trying to understand it. Meanwhile none of the proton therapy centers who failed failed because of the technology. There are other, much more relevant issues and challenges to be considered.

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Independent consultancy made the difference for us.

Proton therapy vendors have a lot of expertise. They also need to sell their equipment and associated services and may not point out which of an initiative’s assumptions are unrealistic. Some consultants possess great expertise — as well as an agreement with a vendor. Independent consultancy can make a difference. Independent consultancy means that the only interest to consider is your interest. Trees with Character will help you to make the right choices.

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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. Without transparency everything is a risk. Everybody is looking for safety and control. Many resources are spent on inspections, on meetings, on the contract. But there is another way.

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