Study: Capital budgets grow for IMRT and RT networking

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The increasing popularity of intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and adoption of electronic networks to transmit and receive digital images is boosting budgets for radiation therapy equipment.

A new report from market researcher IMV Medical Information Division shows the average capital budget for radiation therapy equipment in 2004 is $980,000, a gain of 34 percent from the average allocation in 2003. Sites with budgets of $1.5 million or more have increased to 18 percent in 2004, compared with 9 percent in 1996.

The study also found that 38 percent of sites polled provide IMRT, compared with only 4 percent of sites in 1998. Healthcare providers also are escalating their usage of electronic networks to send and receive digital images - such as CT and MRI - used in treatment planning. In 1998, 24 percent of the radiation oncology sites used electronic networks, while today some 62 percent use networks for sharing images used in treatment planning, surpassing the use of x-ray film.