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Future is Effortless


Departmental machine quality management

As radiation therapy technology becomes more sophisticated and treatments increasingly complex, there is a growing quality assurance burden within clinics to ensure that patient treatments are safe, efficient and effective. At the same time, tighter regulatory scrutiny and increasing workloads place additional demands on already stretched resources.

Recognizing the need for more streamlined QA workflows, Elekta has collaborated with physicists and software engineers at Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, and Acumyn, a commercial spin-off from the University Hospital Network, Toronto, to develop AQUA – a powerful quality management tool that integrates, collates and interprets machine QA processes across the entire radiation therapy department.

Going beyond simple device QA, AQUA integrates key elements of the treatment delivery environment meaning that wider compliance requirements can be easily verified and reported.

AQUA™ is a comprehensive machine quality management solution that:
  • simplifies QA processes across the entire workflow
  • frees staff and resources
  • enhances departmental efficiency
  • maintains system performance and safety so aiding QA compliance

Evidencing safety and quality across the clinic

AQUA, an open, web-based QA management system, integrates via application program interfaces (API) devices such as treatment delivery, imaging and quality assurance equipment in routine use within today’s radiation therapy departments, irrespective of vendor, including:

  • Linear accelerators
  • Quality assurance equipment
  • Brachytherapy equipment
  • Gamma Knife® and other radiosurgery machines
  • CT simulators and other imaging systems

AQUA provides a web-based database for easy monitoring and maintenance of all machine QA processes across the clinic, or multiple sites, allowing centralized data management and remote access.

Providing a full suite of workflow-oriented machine QA tasks, AQUA monitors regular scheduled tests to confirm that machines are operating within specifications and are fit for patient therapy. With real-time alerts to areas that require immediate attention, AQUA detects machine operating specification and performance issues before they affect clinical service, increasing confidence in machine quality and safety.

Standardization and streamlining of workflows

AQUA manages routine machine QA procedures throughout the department, providing workflow optimisation and improved operational efficiency.

The AQUA workflow manager provides a daily ‘To-do’ list and guides staff through daily quality assurance tasks.

AQUA provides a single, access-controlled interface for scheduling, monitoring and reviewing all machine QA procedures and tasks. Process integration and automation simplifies QA requirements and streamlines workflows, increasing standardisation and generating significant time savings.

Proven performance

AQUA was developed in collaboration with Princess Margaret Hospital to meet practical day to day machine QA requirements.

Based on a system that has been in routine operational use since February 2012, connecting over 20 machines, AQUA has proven performance in a clinical setting.

Protecting the whole treatment delivery environment

Not only does AQUA monitor treatment delivery devices and associated equipment, key elements of the bunker itself such as treatment room door interlocks; panic panel and crashbars; intercom and video monitors; stereotactic interlocks; radiation area monitors and beam-on indicators (control and room warning lights) are covered too.

Quality management integrated without compromise

Working towards an integrated future

The vendor agnostic approach and the ease of test customisation means new devices can be easily integrated into the AQUA ecosystem either within a single clinic or across a distributed hospital network.

Increasing integration over time, especially with the Elekta treatment delivery systems, will facilitate further improvements in workflows and compliance across the entire clinic.

Saving time and resources

At a glance, the AQUA dashboard allows physicists to monitor the QA status of equipment across the department, including:

  • Tests that have been performed
  • Tests that are due
  • Results of recent tests
  • Trends relating to a specific QA procedure
  • Current machine state

AQUA alerts and directs physicists to compliance issues as soon as they occur, ensuring that corrective action can be taken immediately so reducing machine downtime.

By automating machine quality management procedures, AQUA performs comprehensive assessment of machine performance on a daily basis in as little as 30 minutes, releasing valuable physicist resources and increasing machine availability. Furthermore, AQUA can scale to expanding locations, equipment and procedures without the need for additional staff.

Assisting regulatory compliance

AQUA machine QA protocols are based on internationally-recognised professional guidelines (AAPM TG142 and TG51, IAEA Technical Report Series No.398), designed to ensure treatment quality and safety compliance.

In addition, AQUA provides complete flexibility to customize or create additional test protocols to meet individual departmental requirements.

The data analysis and monitoring tools within AQUA allow a wide range of reports to be generated, stored and retrieved at the click of a button, including trend analyses and audit reports.