User of the Month

Each month, we feature different Radformation users in the community and highlight their unique experiences.

February 2024

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Marissa Vaccarelli, MS, DABR

Radiation Physicist at the Department of Radiation Medicine, Northwell Health

 

AutoContour

EZFluence

ClearCheck

ClearCalc

RadMonteCarlo

ChartCheck

 

 

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

As our February User of the Month, we recognize Marissa Vaccarelli, a dedicated medical physicist at the Cancer Institute’s Department of Radiation Medicine at Northwell Health. As the largest healthcare system in New York State, treating approximately 250 patients per day across eight different physical locations, the team at Northwell is incredibly busy and has embraced automation as a way to provide not only efficiency but also standardization and quality.

In this dynamic environment, Marissa has been instrumental in implementing various Radformation solutions. She explains the importance of incorporating automation in their workflow, "As a multi-institutional center with cross coverage of physics and dosimetry staff, our goal was to increase efficiency of our clinical processes. Considering a clinic of this scale, standardization allows our team to safely and effectively provide top-quality patient care."

Northwell has been utilizing EZFluence since 2019 and expanded to ClearCheck recently. Reflecting on ClearCheck's significant impact, Marissa describes, "We were thrilled to embrace the many aspects that (ClearCheck’s) plan check module offers, which not only enables our planners to catch any technical issues but also provides a head start to our second check team, rendering time savings in our bustling, clinical setting." Through extensive testing and support, Marissa and her team were able to implement ClearCheck to specifically fit thier individualized clinical needs for an optimized practice in their unique environment.

Highlighting her favorite features, Marissa points out, "The 'PDF to ARIA' option in ClearCheck reporting is a wonderful efficiency! Long gone are the days of standard plan uploading and processing." Additionally, the whole team finds the comments feature in ClearCheck invaluable for clinic communication and smooth handoffs.

With the most recent additions of AutoContour, ClearCalc, RadMonteCarlo, and ChartCheck into their daily operations, Northwell aims to standardize processes in their clinic. Marissa details the simplicity of adding additional Radformation solutions, “Once our team became familiar with the ClearCheck interface, AutoContour’s similar design was instrumental for our team’s quick utilization.” Further elaborating on AutoContour, she highlights, "The automated contours give our planning team an excellent jumpstart in our treatment planning workflow, and we are looking forward to learning the more advanced features of AutoContour."

Lastly, Marissa warmly emphasizes ChartCheck's role as her "best friend" during weekly physics checks, mentioning, "ChartCheck automates all the checks that I would normally look to complete manually, except now, all the checks are located in a centralized, coherent space." The time spent manually checking charts was adding up, and after adopting ChartCheck, Marissa is saving invaluable time and therefore freeing up time for her efforts to be focused in other areas.

Marissa's experience at Northwell Health exemplifies the transformative impact of Radformation's automation solutions in a large and dynamic healthcare environment. Her insights serve as inspiration for other physicists considering the adoption of automation tools into their workflows. Acknowledging those who have made this possible, Marissa says, “Thank you to our Northwell Health colleagues in the Department of Radiation Medicine, as well as the entire physics and dosimetry staff for their collaborative efforts into integrating our newest Radformation additions of ClearCheck and AutoContour.”

 She kindly shares “an additional thanks to the Radformation Clinical Success Manager as well as product support team for their dedicated and personalized approach.”

 

Outside of her professional commitments, Marissa enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring the outdoors, and teaching graduate students. 

Marissa shares photos from her recent adventures:

  • Right: Harriman State Park, NY
  • Below: Ocean Drive Newport, RI
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Previous Users of the Month

 

 

In the dynamic world of radiation oncology, automation can enhance patient care. This month, we shine the spotlight on David Cameron, MS DABR, CEO of HannLeb Physics, who has been at the forefront of integrating Radformation's innovative solutions into their workflow. Founded in 2003, HannLeb Physics has expanded its expertise across nine states with a robust team of over 40 board-certified physicists and dosimetrists. David Cameron reflects on their journey: "Our presence in multiple states and diverse expertise in all platforms and software in radiation oncology define our growth and commitment to excellence."

David’s experience with Radformation's suite of products has been transformative. "Implementing Radformation solutions across multiple HLP sites has been a game changer. It's a 'must-have' solution in radiation oncology," he asserts. The integration of Radformation's automation solutions has streamlined their operations, allowing more focus on complex plans and enhancing overall plan quality.

David’s team uses the Planning Package – AutoContour, ClearCheck, ClearCalc, and EZFluence. He praises their efficiency, "They have revolutionized our workflow, enabling us to focus more on complex plans and efficiently evaluate plan quality." He highlights how ClearCheck and customized plan check templates have been instrumental in early error detection, enhancing efficiency and treatment quality, ultimately avoiding downstream inefficiencies. David further explains, “The integrated aspects of these four products allow us to provide treatment solutions much earlier after stimulation to begin plan quality and plan trade-off analysis for the best treatment for the patient.”

The introduction of ChartCheck marked a significant shift by providing automated weekly checks and proactive treatment monitoring. Before ChartCheck, The HannLeb Physics Team relied on comprehensive encounters within ARIA for chart checks. David elaborates, "The automation within ChartCheck has allowed us to move away from our previous weekly chart check encounters. It prevents checklist saturation and enables us to focus more on patient-related treatment issues, without compromising a quality continuing physics check.”

Cameron has witnessed the evolution of Radformation's products firsthand. "The development and improvements have been collaborative and well-thought-out, driven by client input and refined through clinical application," he notes. He particularly appreciates how Radformation focuses on creating a single platform with minimal navigation, leading to substantial time savings and efficiencies that are not only user-friendly and easy to implement, but actually make a difference in his team’s daily work. 

When asked about a favorite, less-discussed feature, David quickly mentions the Prescription Check section in ClearCheck. "It's my first go-to when evaluating plans. It's a hard stop if something is incorrect, allowing immediate analysis of laterality, dose per fraction, and physician's intent." This feature has enhanced their ability to communicate effectively within the team and address patient-specific directives efficiently.

David's journey with Radformation highlights the potential of automation to revolutionize workflows, especially in large, diverse teams spread out through so many centers. HannLeb Physics' adoption of these tools demonstrates their commitment to quality, efficiency, and patient-centric care. As David succinctly puts it, "Radformation's solutions allow us to be more patient-facing and address multidisciplinary issues throughout the clinic." 

Outside the professional world, David enjoys spending time with his kids, going golfing, and unwinding and recharging by relaxing on Lake Norman. His hobbies provide a nice balance to a demanding career, finding moments of relaxation and family connection.

 David took the time to acknowledge the collective effort behind HannLeb Physics' success. With appreciation, he shares, "I want to extend my gratitude to my entire HannLeb team. We have many leaders who skillfully evaluate and implement products across our sites, contributing significantly to our achievements."

 

Rounding out the year, we’re excited to feature our December User of the Month, Medical Physicist Robert Schindhelm from the University Hospital Würzburg’s Department of Radiation Oncology in Germany. Robert shares valuable insights into the positive impact of introducing ClearCheck for comprehensive automated plan checks, explaining, “With ClearCheck, we have been able to incorporate comprehensive automated plan checks at various stages of our workflow and can now involve our physicians more in our iterative planning process.” 

Before using ClearCheck, Robert’s team navigated the complexities of plan evaluation through a phased transition from Pinnacle to Eclipse and reluctantly went back to using Excel sheets, which were cumbersome and time-consuming. They made some progress using a self-developed plan check script to validate various plan-specific parameters such as bolus, plan dose, prescription alignment, etc., but still found value in ClearCheck’s comprehensive evaluation workspace. 

According to Robert, the most important gain since implementing ClearCheck was the overall improvement in their plan review process. He details, “Evaluations are automated and standardized, allowing for the verification of important dosimetric values and plan-specific parameters within seconds.”

Among the features of ClearCheck, the ability to generate and send PDF reports to ARIA in one click is particularly appreciated. This feature eliminated the need for exporting and re-importing documents, resulting in significant time savings. By minimizing the time required for necessary verifications, ClearCheck has empowered Robert and his team to redirect their focus toward improving the quality of patient care. In this way, ClearCheck has provided more than time savings; it has played a role in enhancing the overall quality of the plan reviews they complete.

 

Outside of work, Robert enjoys staying active by riding his bike, exploring new hiking trails, and appreciating the beauty of nature. He also finds balance in practicing acroyoga, which combines strength, flexibility, and mindfulness. 


In expressing his acknowledgments, he recognizes the entire Radformation team for their outstanding support and quick implementation of new features, emphasizing that “ClearCheck has not only streamlined the planning process but also fostered greater collaboration among team members, enhancing overall efficiency and freeing up time that can be redirected towards elevating patient care.”

Pictured below: Robert in his element - hiking and appreciating the scenery. 

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Our November User of the Month, Anton Eagle, is a seasoned Senior Medical Physicist at AdventHealth RMR. Anton's extensive experience with Radformation solutions has allowed him firsthand to see the impact they’ve had on his department. He's a true advocate, expressing his enthusiasm, "I am a huge fan of all the Radformation products." 

He and his team have harnessed the power of AutoContour, EZFluence, ClearCheck, and ClearCalc, and recently added RadMachine and RadMonteCarlo to their daily operations. Anton has been a true trailblazer, testing and pushing the boundaries of our products, particularly ClearCalc, which they beta-tested extensively.

Anton recalls a pivotal moment when he realized the true value of Radformation's solutions, particularly ClearCalc: "When we saw that ClearCalc achieves a successful secondary calc on virtually every single plan we throw at it, so we simply no longer worry at all about secondary calcs. That’s when we realized what a game-changer Radformation has become. After the initial beta-testing, I can’t think of a single photon plan that has failed a secondary calc with ClearCalc."

With AdventHealth’s unique workflows and stringent planning requirements, Anton and his team have complex needs and high standards with any software they use, which speaks volumes about their use of so many Radformation solutions. Looking ahead, they plan to continue configuring RadMachine, and converting all their QA tracking to the intuitive platform.

When asked about what makes Radformation different, Anton confidently answered, “The product-cycle time.” He explained how, beyond the technical advantages, Radformation is unique in the rad onc industry for how quickly we incorporate customer feedback into product improvements. He noted, “In some cases, we have seen new versions that fix some problem, or implement some new feature, in only a matter of weeks from the time that we reported some issue. There simply is no other vendor that can match that speed.”

“Additionally, the quality of the Radformation leadership and staff is also truly unique. I really value the relationships that have developed.” 

 

In his free time, Anton can be found skiing, hiking, or programming in C#, ESAPI, and Python. He also enjoys gaming, along with gritty sci-fi and fantasy.

We are thrilled to have users like Anton be a part of our Radformation community and greatly appreciate the collaboration with AdventHealth’s clinical team over the years. 

 

 

We are thrilled to introduce our exceptional October User of the Month, a true symbol of resilience and inspiration. Meet Marjorie Seidel, a seasoned dosimetrist with over 30 years of experience, whose journey through personal health battles has only strengthened her commitment to delivering top-notch patient care. Marjorie bravely shares her courageous health journey, having faced both Ewings Sarcoma and a recent diagnosis of Breast Cancer. She has undergone intensive treatments resulting in neuropathy and lymphadenopathy that has ultimately affected her contouring dexterity. AutoContour came at the perfect time. I feel that I am now able to continue working in a complex, fast-paced environment while maintaining accurate contouring requiring minimal editing.”


The first case that Marjorie opened in AutoContour was her own CT Simulation. “I wanted to see where the software would place nodal volumes compared to where our physicians had drawn them.  Supraclavicular, Axillary, and IMNs overlayed beautifully. Also, brachial plexus, parotid, cochlea, and optic structures all showed the same great results.”

 

Reflecting on her experiences, Marjorie acknowledges the initial struggle of transitioning from a dedicated dosimetrist to a patient. She learned to trust her team, knowing that she would receive the same excellent care she and her colleagues provide to patients every day.


If she didn’t already have enough on her plate, Marjorie also started the US-based Halcyon Planning Group (Facebook / LinkedIn), and encourages all Halcyon users to join. She highlights the unique challenges posed by the Halcyon’s stacked MLCs and 6FFF beam, and acknowledges Radformation software for enabling quick 3D comparison plans with EZFluence and clear simple plan comparisons with ClearCheck.

 

Beyond her work in the clinic, Marjorie has a vibrant array of hobbies, including extensive travel, pug rescue, advocacy for cancer care, reading, crafts, and enjoying the great outdoors. Her diverse interests mirror her dynamic and positive approach to life, and help her balance the demands of an important profession while overcoming real-life challenges.

 

Marjorie's journey is a shining example of excellence, resilience, and a passion for providing top-quality patient care. Her positivity is an inspiration to us all, embodying the values of strength, dedication, and compassion.

Marjorie with RibbonMarjorie and husbandMarjorie on boat

 

 

 

In the spotlight this month, we are showcasing the accomplishments of Cory Neill, the Director of Medical Dosimetry at Carson-Tahoe Cancer Center. Cory is a dedicated user whose journey with Radformation has been nothing short of transformative. His initial encounter with Radformation occurred in 2019 during the annual AAMD meeting, where he participated in an EZFluence breast planning workshop with Kari Beach. Recounting the experience, he enthuses, "Before I knew it, I was planning breasts at the workshop in seconds flat, and they looked better or comparable to my manually planned tangents. I became a believer and was impressed with Radformation's passion, as they demonstrated they actually cared about the end-user and it didn't take years to roll out requests."


However, it was Cory's transition to EclipseTM a few years later that truly put Radformation's capabilities to the test. This transition could have been a daunting endeavor, but Radformation became a lifeline. Cory candidly shares, "I knew I was going to need all the help I could get creating 3D plans in Eclipse... EZFluence was a lifesaver!" His determination was evident as he diligently reached out to Radformation's support and began to produce plans that “blew the physicians away.” One of their favorite uses of EZFluence is for single isocenter match line L spine/sacrum treated with 3-fields and Sacral treated with 3-fields, emphasizing the diverse applications of the software. "Because I have solutions for fast, 3D planning, I have a lot more time to create SBRT and SRS cases." Radformation's tools have not only enhanced efficiency, but have also empowered Cory to delve into more intricate planning cases.


In addition to EZFluence, Cory and his team have harnessed the power of ClearCheck. His admiration for this multifaceted feature is evident as he says, "Our custom report gives us information regarding possible collisions, dose constraints, prescription checks, and plan checks." ClearCheck not only streamlines their planning but also serves as a valuable quality assurance tool. Cory humorously adds, "Shh, don’t tell the therapists, but we sometimes leave out set-up fields in external planning, and Radformation Plan Check flags this for us before we schedule the treatments. This check has saved our relationship with the therapists."


Cory’s journey exemplifies how passion, efficiency, and unwavering support from Radformation have transformed his daily practice, allowing him to focus on delivering the highest quality care to his patients. “I can’t explain how much we rely upon Radformation solutions. I could never plan in a world without them.  Their solutions have truly expedited our workflows by creating homogenous and conformal 3D plans in EZFluence and have saved countless hours using ClearCheck.”

 

Cory's life outside of work is marked by a deep appreciation for his family and the great outdoors. A nature enthusiast, Cory's love for adventure takes him to incredible locations where he and his family enjoy the beautiful views. Whether it's skiing down the mountains, relaxing at Lake Tahoe, or navigating the twists and turns of single-track bike trails, Cory's zest for life shines through in his outdoor pursuits, making every moment a memorable experience.

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Our August User of the Month is Kristi Smith, Senior Dosimetrist and newly elected AAMD President. After using Radformation for the last year, Kristi exclaims, "It has changed our clinic drastically, and it's changed our workflow. I use AutoContour, ClearCheck, ClearCalc, and EZFluence daily. It has streamlined a lot of our processes, and it's just made our clinic a lot more efficient."


Kristi goes on to describe their meticulous approach to evaluating various automated contouring solutions, putting four different options to the test while diligently noting the pros and cons of each. Eventually, their choice became clear, and they opted for AutoContour, because "it clearly stood out above the rest" and aligned with their needs. AutoContour's similarity to her current contouring workflow allows Kristi to easily adjust if needed, keeping her clinical expertise in the driver's seat.


When reflecting on the most significant impact that Radformation has made in her work life, Kristi shares, "There have been so many benefits. Not only has [Radformation] helped with our throughput of our patients with efficient workflows. It's also had a big impact on our communication."


As a leader in the field, Kristi's experience with Radformation speaks volumes about its transformative potential for clinics, paving the way for more efficient patient care in an unfortunate era marked by staffing shortages.

 

Outside of work and her AAMD responsibilities, Kristi is not only a devoted mother of four boys but also an advocate for her youngest son, who has special needs. She wholeheartedly dedicates herself to understanding and meeting her son's unique requirements, ensuring he receives the care and attention he deserves.

Beyond her own family, Kristi extends her compassionate nature to assist other parents facing similar challenges. Kristi's selflessness and genuine care have left a lasting impact, creating a strong support system for families raising children with special needs, and fostering an environment of inclusivity and understanding.

 

This month, we are highlighting Chief Physicist Michael Curry, who shares his department's recent integration of Radformation solutions in their mixed environment.

 

Michael expresses his gratitude for the time savings his department has experienced in just a few months. He acknowledges the tremendous help these time savings have provided, especially during a period of understaffing in dosimetry and physics. “Without these solutions, we would have been working 50 to 60-hour weeks.” He mentions that each dosimetrist has praised the new process for its efficiency, which has significantly reduced their stress levels.

 

Regarding the implementation of RadMachine, the team decided to develop a more comprehensive monthly QA solution before going live. Michael explains that this process has consistently reinforced their decision to acquire RadMachine as a replacement for another monthly QA software solution. He describes the RadMachine team as the "Jimmy Johns of software" due to their exceptionally fast code update delivery. "With RadMachine, the analysis of CBCT, kV, MV, Picket Fence, RapidArc performance test images, as well as Profiler data, is completely automated. For all image analyses, you simply provide the machine with DICOM RT or Machine QA mode, and RadMachine takes care of everything else."

 

In terms of ClearCalc, the team followed the MPPG5a guidelines for all plans, including Cyberknife during the trial. Michael observes that ClearCalc has relieved his physics team of the complexities of their previous workflow, allowing them to focus more on plan quality and Machine QA during their lunch breaks. He details, "ClearCalc has removed the need to add a calc point and export to Mobius. On the surface that seems miniscule, but with Mosaiq we need to have an Eclipse reference point with no location, and for Mobius we need an Eclipse reference point with a location. This means that they would need to approve the plan and send to Mobius, then unapprove it, change the primary reference point and then send the plan to Mosaiq. With ClearCalc they can just approve the plan with the reference point that has no location and send the plan to Mosaiq."

 

Michael explains that EZFluence was the easiest solution to implement, evident by all five dosimetrists eagerly adopting it for daily use in planning breast cases, 3D breast boosts, AP/PA palliative cases, and even 3Field rectum plans. He reports that “in certain cases, dosimetrists have completed a plan in just 5-10 minutes, whereas it would have taken them 45-75 minutes in the past.” Additionally, the plans generated by EZFluence are more homogeneous and as a result, allows dosimetrists to allocate more attention and focus to the more complex VMAT plans.

 

Overall, Radformation solutions have proven to be invaluable tools, enhancing productivity, reducing stress, and allowing the department to deliver higher quality care to their patients.

 

Michael's Acknowledgments:

"Thanks to James Geoghegan, Michael White, and Bonnie Chinsky for taking the brunt of clinical duties while these applications were validated. Thanks to Chris Busselberg for all of the MPPG5a validation of ClearCalc and helping with initial dosimetry training on EZFluence and AutoContour Trials. Finally, Thanks to my wife and kids for continually supporting me and allowing me time away from them to wrap up these and other projects over the years."

 

In his free time outside of the office, Michael enjoys spending time with his family, running on the treadmill while watching movies and TV shows, and reading about any new car coming to market.

Fun fact, he was the captain of the High School bowling team! (see the great photo →) 

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Our June User of the Month is Jaime Stephens, a Radiation Oncology Department Manager. Jaime oversees two hospitals in the Intermountain Health Network, and despite her team's longstanding use of the Radformation suite of tools, she is thrilled to finally become a user herself with the recent addition of QuickCode.

 

QuickCode has been successfully deployed across nine Intermountain locations, facilitating standardized code review across all centers. This accomplishment is particularly challenging for large networks because each department has been reviewing how they deemed best for many years.

 

Jaime expresses high praise for her team's experience with QuickCode, stating, "When they get into it and start using the software, we have nothing but happy people." She explains how it significantly saves her time on a daily basis by automating the billing review process, which allows her to allocate valuable time to other important tasks.

 

Recalling the implementation process, Jaime shares, "Whenever someone mentioned a desired feature, we would discover from the Radformation team that QuickCode already had something similar or closely related that fulfilled our needs! Moreover, the support team has been incredibly helpful in setting up QuickCode and addressing our questions and requests regarding all our other products."

 

Jaime elaborates on the positive impact of all Radformation solutions on Intermountain Health, stating, "It's truly wonderful to continuously explore the capabilities of each software and demonstrate how they enhance our daily tasks or save us time."

 

When Jaime gets a break from her busy work life, she finds solace in her passion for running. She can be found running through the breathtaking trails of Utah's mountains and carries her love for running all the way to the sun-kissed beaches of Hawaii. When she's not pounding the pavement, Jaime cherishes moments of relaxation with her family at Lake Powell, and is accompanied by her four children, ages 16, 14, and 12 year old twins.

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This month, we’re featuring two medical physicists from the Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health.  Kristen McConnell and Michael Leyva have dived head-first into RadMachine from two different angles—Photons and Protons.


In both departments, RadMachine has provided next-level organization of all things QA. Kristen describes, “Spreadsheets can do the job, but organizing tests and equipment in a central repository has been a game changer for us. The best part is no more digging around in file folders to find calibration certificates or comparing spreadsheets.”

Mike speaks highly about his experience with RadMachine and explains how it dramatically reduces the time and effort required. “With this innovative software, users can eliminate the need to jump between different tools for analysis. Users can focus their attention and energy on the most critical aspect of QA testing: interpreting and utilizing the results.” He also highlights the support he has received since implementation, “Radformation's exceptional support team is always on standby to provide timely assistance.”

Kristen explains how RadMachine does a lot of similar tests to her photon counterparts but is flexible enough to handle proton's unique needs. “The benefit is that we can write custom code and add it to analyze our DICOM images. This makes the most basic out-of-the-box RadMachine immediately usable for protons.”

Reflecting on her experience with Radformation, Kristen remarks on how the tools improve quality, “There are so many items that are hard to check just because they are confusing, hard to find, or disorganized. Radformation is changing that – from billing to contouring to plan checking. As someone who wants to organize and automate the commonalities, I am grateful your software exists.”

Outside of the clinic, Mike has two passions that both include the vast sky above. He holds a pilot's license and is particularly fond of landscape astrography, taking amazing images of the night sky and even capturing the Milky Way when it’s visible.   

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In her free time, Kristen enjoys spending as much time outdoors as possible in the sunny state of Florida. You can find her rollerblading, running, swimming, trying to catch a shuttle launch, or growing a variety of plants and herbs to use in her cooking. 

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Our April User of the Month is Dr. Mubin Shakih, Chief Physicist at The Lipson Cancer Institute, part of Rochester Regional Health. Watch the video interview here:

 



Mubin explains how his department has run smoother since switching to integrated software solutions that work together. He relives the days before Radformation, filled with multiple vendors, potential network issues, countless copies of CT data, and siloed nuanced workflows that were promised to be “the latest and the greatest”. He compliments how robust but simple, and ultimately, how integrated the Radformation solutions are with each other. 


“What I’ve noticed is that Radformation has isolated the different pain points that you run into in the clinic. You have products that are tailored to those different pain points, whether that's contouring, with AutoContour, second check with ClearCalc. All those little pieces, they just kind of fit in all together.” Dr. Shaikh also details how ClearCheck provided a huge step forward in the standard of care, and gave clear guidance as to standardized departmental expectations across all departments.


“Radformation makes innovative products that add value to the Radiation Oncology department.” Mubin explains, “Innovation in our field is great, but the reality is, not all innovation is good innovation. Finding the balance is really important. Radformation has found a way to innovate effectively and create tools that are user-friendly and integrate seamlessly into the workflow. I think this is an unmet need that you guys are filling where you aren't tied to one of the two major players, you're right in the middle. You provide value and you build products that the clinic needs.”

 

In his free time, Dr. Shaikh has recently become interested in investing. He enjoys learning and preparing for the two upcoming tuitions he will have in the future.

 

Our March User of the Month is Adalicia DeGroff, a medical dosimetrist and physics assistant with CTSI at CTCA Atlanta. The planning team has been eagerly awaiting the implementation of Radformation solutions, and just recently added AutoContour, ClearCheck, and EZFluence

 

Their team, especially Adalicia, is thrilled that their time has come to join the Radformation Family. In under two months, CTCA Atlanta has successfully implemented all three tools, which has resulted in a “drastic improvement to their workflow and clinical consistency.”

 

Reflecting on her 17+ years of experience, Adalicia says, “I have tried multiple contouring solutions over the years, and Radformation's AutoContour was the best option I’ve ever encountered. We have performed multiple projects to measure our overall time savings, and those studies reflected up to 40% savings in time.”

 

EZFluence has greatly benefited CTCA’s prone breast and palliative 3D planning. Adalicia laughs, “I have attempted to compete with EZFluence, and it is capable of accomplishing plans better than my best efforts.”

 

Last week the team shifted their treatment plan documentation from Aria to ClearCheck. When asked about the transition to ClearCheck, Adalicia described the workflow as seamless and user-friendly while providing additional time savings.

 

"Radformation has created software that is truly spectacular, and I am committed to any new software that improves patient care in our ever-changing profession."

 

In her free time, Adalicia enjoys spending time out on her Pontoon boat with her husband, three kids, and miniature labrador, Willa.

 

Our January User of the Month is Kevin Risolo, a medical physicist at Penn Medicine. His team utilizes EZFluenceClearCheckClearCalc, RadMonteCarlo, and QuickCode for improved problem detection and efficiency.

 

Kevin shares how ClearCheck prevents errors from slipping by, as simple as a bad field name to one as serious as potential collisions. He explains, “this dovetails with time savings in not having to replan and recheck a patient or fix any issues on the spot, which over the course of a year and the thousands of patients we as a system treat in that time, is not insignificant.”

 

After taking over the second checks last year, Kevin recognized there was room for improvement, doing DICOM exports, manual HU setting, back-and-forth between calc points, etc. He shares, “of the ~400 linac plans I personally run a year, I could save on average 3-5 minutes per run by switching to ClearCalc, so 20-30+ hours a year for me. Multiply that over dozens of physicists and the time savings alone were worth the switch to ClearCalc.”

 

“A planner I work closely with mentions EZFluence in the same breath as the best things he loves in life. For anyone who does planning a lot and/or for a living, EZFluence takes your skillset to a new level of potential in 3D planning.”

 

When asked his favorite thing about Radformation, he shared that it’s the customer support. “I can reach out with any question, comment, or concern on the product, and I know it's internalized by Radformation. Paired with the great trainings you do with your users, the support we get as an end-user is hard to match.”

 

Outside of the clinic, Kevin spends time with his family and has been curling for over 8 years. He can happily be found practicing or competing any time of the year at his new local curling club.

 

Although his official title is a Chief Physicist for Novant Health, whether by training or genetics, Alan is an engineer at heart. His favorite motto is, "work smarter not harder" which lead him to automation to capitalize on his clinics' efficiency. Alan explains that "Radformation products fall squarely into this mindset and each and every one have improved our clinic." In the past 3 years alone, he has chosen to implement many of Radformation's solutions, 5 to be exact!

 

Alan shares, "I have always been impressed with not only the software that Radformation develops, but also very impressed at how fast they evolve the software to meet customer suggestions and needs. From hot spot reduction and planning speed in EZFluence, to ease of comparing plans to scorecards in ClearCheck. Also, computing rapid secondary calculations In ClearCalc without having to export and import DICOM data, and quick easy uniform plan printouts: Radformation software has greatly improved our clinic for the better."

 

When prompted to divulge his favorite Radformation solution, Alan responded, "EZFluence, ClearCheck, and ClearCalc together". He went on to explain how these tools work in conjunction to make all our planning and processing of plans much more efficient, which affords my dosimetry and physics staff more time to work on improving plan quality further.

 

Alan has also been keeping up with ChartCheck, and is excited about some of the upcoming features. He thinks ChartCheck will be an important addition to his clinics in the near future.

 

In November, we're heading to the sunshine state to hear how Adi Robinson, Senior Medical Physicist at AdventHealth Orlando, has implemented multiple Radformation solutions into his department's workflow. He states, “The implementation of Radformation products enabled us to improve our planning efficiency so we can produce clinically better plan quicker. On the physics side, ClearCheck became the homepage of every plan check which improved how we check treatment plans.”

 

Adi recalls AdventHealth’s previous workflow before Radformation and explains how time-consuming it was to complete a second check be required multiple reference points, exporting of the plan, and a long calculation time. Adi states,ClearCalc allowed us to streamline all 2nd checks with fast results without any need to export/import or alter the plan. In addition, with ClearCheck we were able to standardize planning and constraint templates across all sites in AdventHealth in Florida.” Adi also refers to EZFluence, and says, “Some of our clinics specialize in breast radiation therapy and EZFluence has been a game changer for them helping generate great plans in no time.”

 

Adi credits ClearCheck and AutoContour for helping introduce TG-263 to the entire team, and ultimately reduce planner OAR contouring variability. He further explains that AutoContour does an amazing job on most OARs quickly, and he appreciates the ease of sending anonymized data back to Radformation for quick analysis and response.

 

Acknowledging the Radformation Customer Support Team was important for AdventHealth. Adi shared some praise, and said, “Starting with install and training, to helping us with ongoing issues, I am always impressed with how knowledgeable and helpful the Radformation team is every time I call.”

 

This month, we’re focusing on our animal family, because humans aren’t the only ones who battle cancer. Dr. Neal Mauldin, the Chief Medical Officer at PetCure Oncology, is on the front lines of treating animals with Radiation Therapy. When approaching radiation oncology in a veterinary setting, he explains, “frequently, it is very difficult for us to “force” products designed for human medicine to work in our world– but we had no such issues with Radformation's products. It was easy for us to customize the templates to our needs and use the OAR metrics we previously developed.”

 

Dr. Mauldin describes PetCure’s use of the Radformation solutions in greater detail, and explains, “each of our plans undergoes a secondary review by a second RO. We use ClearCalc’s FSPB algorithm to check all of our plan calcs, and ClearCheck allows us to do a very robust target volume and OAR metric check within the native Eclipse environment. This workflow is hugely efficient and has greatly simplified our workflow for plan review and QA. Finally, we generate a copy of the entire ClearCheck report, including very specific and detailed information about concerns, anticipated toxicity, etc., and incorporate it into the medical record, as well as provide it to the referring veterinarian and the family.”

 

PetCure Oncology consists of a nationwide network of veterinary radiation facilities. Given the logistical challenges of coordinating physician efforts across a large geographical area, the team needed a way to deploy efficient remote planning and QA. "Citrix has worked well for our needs, and we’ve found both ClearCheck and ClearCalc to be very reliable in that setting. Additionally, we have fairly robust growth plans for the next few years, and the use of Radformation's software will allow us to be very scalable."

 

One short year ago, The Queens Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawai’i, underwent a massive renovation and expansion of its Radiation Oncology department.  The department also transitioned from multiple TPS, machines, and software vendors, to a simpler infrastructure with 3 beam matched Truebeams with 6D couch, Varian TPS and OIS, and Radformation Automation software. Vince states, “consolidating all our systems has been a game changer, but the addition of the Radformation Suite has really taken our physics program up a notch.”

 

With the rapid expansion, the Radiation Oncology department has brought on several new doctors whose number one request from Physics was ClearCheck. They had previous experience and knew it would be easy to import all of their customary constraint templates. Vince explains that ClearCheck gives the physicians confidence that something hasn’t been overlooked and the plan quality is optimal. He also shares how ClearCheck also simplifies their weekly chart rounds review for new starts- “the first thing we look at on each patient is the Clear Check results.”

 

The planning team has quickly adapted to using the Radformation solutions.  The dosimetrists love the amazingly fast printing and comprehensive report generation in ClearCheck and estimate they save about 20 minutes per report compared to their previously painful and tedious process. The Collision Check module has caught several plans that would have collided, offering the ability to correct it on the spot and avoid any issues when the patient begins treatment. They also fell in love with how quickly EZFluence can create a high-quality FiF breast plan. Vince personally likes ClearCalc, stating that “it’s quite a step up from our previous 2nd check, where we would often find ourselves goal seeking a passing analysis point.”

 

Reflecting on the implementation process, Vince was surprised at the simplicity.  He explains, “The Radformation techs had us up and running with ClearCheck, EZFluence, and ClearCalc quickly. ChartCheck requires a standalone server-based installation, but even that is not terribly difficult.”

 

Outside of the office, you’ll likely find Vince fishing off the Hawaiian shores for Ahi, Ono, Mahi, Marlin, just to name a few. If he’s not fishing, he’s working on his boat and undoubtedly thinking about his next fishing adventure!

 

With over 55 radiation oncology locations spread across Texas, Texas Oncology is one of the largest cancer treatment and research provider networks. Standardization is crucial for optimal, efficient operation and patient care.

 

Senior Dosimetrist, Jennifer Jenson explains, "The Radformation solutions provide increased efficiency, standardization between clinics, and additional safety tools. ClearCheck and EZFluence are both incredibly useful in our daily workflow, and we're looking forward to learning more about ClearCalc and AutoContour too."

 

Although it's hard to choose, ClearCheck is Jennifer's current favorite product because it not only speeds up Texas Oncology's workflow- allowing more time for challenging cases- but also supports safe treatment planning practices.

 

Jennifer also describes how instrumental the Radformation support team has been for the entire Texas Oncology network. "Customer support is critical for the successful launch of any new product, process, or technology. Radformation’s support team has proven to be great both upfront and in follow-up. They always provide quick responses to any questions and are happy to accommodate more in-depth training even for some of our departments who have had the solutions for a while."

 

Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with her daughters, Cora and Sophia.

 

"Radformation software allows our team to focus on the most valuable contributions to the treatment process.  Dosimetrists focusing on optimizing a plan is a much better use of their expertise than managing printing of pdfs.  Physicists reviewing the agreement of a second check result instead of managing export and import of files is a better use of their expertise.  This holds true for all of the Radformation products we have adopted. The more we invest in their use the more valuable our professionals become.


As one of our dosimetrist’s clearly stated: “It helps us to better concentrate on the most important thing which is creating a safe and effective plan for each patient.” "

 

The Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Northern Michigan has advanced its department's treatment planning workflow with various Radformation solutions. They began, as many clinics do, with ClearCheck and EZFluence, and have recently sought more efficiency and expanded their library to include ClearCalc and AutoContour too.

Stefano sums up the impact each tool has had on their team and explains:

  • ClearCheck gave us a reliable tool to evaluate plan dosimetry quickly and consistently. The best surprise was the "Print to ARIA" feature which with one click makes a document that automatically goes to the ARIA chart!

  • EZFluence was a game-changer for breast planning.

  • ClearCalc second check fully satisfies all we need in an MU calc check, in a single click.

Stefano shared some great advice and suggests if you're not a Radformation user yet, you should reach out and get a trial installed because it'll be like an early Christmas present for the entire team.

 

Dr Catherine Park Leonard:

Advocate Health Care has elevated its radiation oncology workflow to deliver top quality patient care in the most efficient way.  As Dr. Park Leonard explains, "Radformation has been a wonderful addition to our clinic. We utilize ClearCheck on every patient which allows us to quickly see if we are obtaining our desired coverage while maintaining our dose constraints. The format is easy to read, I look at this first on every patient before I look at the plan slice by slice."

Their department also has the dosimetrists look at the prescriptions and use AutoContour for all of the OARs and the lymph node stations. Dr. Park Leonard says, "this has saved us a lot of time contouring as we can make some slight adjustments for elective nodal volumes."

Outside of work, Dr. Park Leonard likes to spend time with her family and enjoys taking photographs.

 

 

Kristen Krupel, CMD

All of Radformation's software products have been such an enormous time saver in a busy clinical environment like ours.  We have been able to streamline our workflow from contouring to planning to printing the plans and calculations.

 AutoContour allows us to quickly drop OARs and structures for the doctors to use for their volumes. 

EZFluence makes planning anything from simple whole brains and breasts to complicated 3D sites seamless and quick - allowing for faster turnaround on plans. 

With ClearCheck we can drop a template and quickly check DVH metrics against our institutional guidelines, as well as make modifications on a per case basis. 

With ClearCalc, there is no exporting to a third-party second check software, and putting a chart together has never been easier, and printing/attaching the results - everything is built-in and easily complied at a click of a button.

Putting a chart together has never been easier, there is no exporting to a third-party MU Checker software and printing/attaching the results - everything is built in and easily complied at a click of a button. Honestly, after using this software, it would be difficult and pretty stressful to work in a busy clinical environment without it. 

Kristen speaks to the Radformation tools her team uses daily on every patient, and explains, “after using this software, it would be difficult and pretty stressful to work in a busy clinical environment without it. Our clinic functions much more smoothly and standardized with using this software.”

 

Kenny has revolutionized plan QA with ClearCheck throughout the University of Kansas cancer center network. He shares, “ClearCheck has really allowed our group to create our own templates based on department guidelines.” In less than a year, their team has added over 60 in-house protocols to ClearCheck.  “Not only has the software been effective in guiding treatment planning, it has been implemented in weekly chart rounds, which has streamlined our process while also providing a more detailed analysis of each patient’s treatment plan.”  The team has also found that using ClearCheck’s constraint templates has been extremely helpful in capturing data for research.

The University of Kansas Radiation Oncology department has also fully embraced EZFluence for all of their 3D planning with any body site, and is in the process of evaluating adding more Radformation tools to further enhance their workflow.

When Kenny is not in the clinic, he enjoys exploring Kansas City with his wife, daughter and dog, and watching the NBA.

 

The radiation oncology department at Centre d'Oncologie Saint-Yves was searching for an alternative to VMAT/IMRT for planning breast treatments for their Halcyon™ machines, with the end goal of further reducing dose to contralateral organs. Jérôme was informed about EZFluence by a colleague, and reached out to learn more. He explains, “the installation of the EZFluence tool was done very quickly after our request and the support team is very responsive to our questions and requests.”

The team had evaluated many planning options, and found that planning manual field-in-field was reduced to a third of the time using EZFluence.  They also noted that the plans created with EZFluence had better target volume coverage, minimal dose to contralateral OARs, and the planners had more control over the max dose.

Jérôme quickly became a Radformation user, and has since expanded the use of EZFluence to their whole brain cases and other planning sites as well.

 

Ryan Pennell, a Chief Medical Physicist at a busy hospital in NYC. Ryan has optimized his department's treatment planning workflow and explains that “the implementation of Radformation’s products into the department’s workflow has drastically increased their efficiency and productivity.”  Initially, his department started with ClearCheck for standardization, and among other benefits, allowed the Dosimetrists to decrease their reporting time from 45 to less than 5 minutes. They have now expanded to using four of Radformation Solutions daily.

Ryan acknowledges the Radformation support team’s impact by saying “after 10+ years in the field, I have never worked with a company that provides the level of customer support that Radformation has. They have assembled a team of experts that immediately address any issues, and they are constantly rolling out upgrades to their products because they are always trying to improve.”

 

Dr. Ina Sala has implemented multiple Radformation Automation tools in her rapidly growing, technology-driven, group of centers in Florida. She explains that automation has been by far the biggest attraction to Radformation because it allows her team to be “efficient and accurate with very limited manual interference, therefore, reducing human errors.” Being a part of a large institution with several centers and dozens of staff, Ina acknowledges that “standardization across the sites is critical in providing consistent and high-level care and is by far the most attractive feature that we don’t talk enough about.”

When she’s not in the clinic, Ina enjoys spending time outdoors playing beach volleyball, kayaking, and swimming year-round in sunny Florida.

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