Varian adds oncology IT to its portfolio

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Varian Medical Systems, Inc. used this week's American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's annual meeting in Denver as the launching pad of its new ARIA oncology information management system. ARIA is built for filmless and paperless cancer clinics that offer radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and/or surgery, Varian said.
ARIA is a step towards the company's eventual overall goal of developing "real-time adaptation" of oncology treatment, said Meryl Ginsberg, public relations manager. Though the system is not able to adjust a treatment plan as such yet, it does go a very long way towards unifying an oncology department's assorted applications in a single pool, Ginsberg added.

Being flexible, ARIA can help manage comprehensive cancer treatment centers or stand-alone radiation oncology or medical oncology departments. It incorporates a large set of medical oncology tools and supports all forms of radiotherapy, including fully-automated IGRT and dynamic adaptive radiotherapy (DART).

The software product integrates rapid image processing and treatment machine controls for all types of radiotherapy, including advanced forms of image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

Looking at ARIA, it appears user-friendly, being a Windows-based application with tabs that take you to different data sets and functionalities. Essentially, it provides a vertically oncology-oriented EHR (electronic health record) with a summation of all available data for a patient as opposed to the longitudinally oriented EHRs used by hospitals and physician groups, a Varian spokesman said at the conference.

Following are some other key functionalities of ARIA:
  • Offline Review enables clinicians to review and approve-offline, images that are generated by an On-Board Imager device. Offline Review is pending FDA 510(k) clearance;

  • Chart QA lets physicists review patient charts, check treatment history and monitor continuing courses of treatment;

  • Long-Term Archive automatically extracts patient data no longer actively used from the database for storage, but can be retrieved as needed;

  • Report Manager enables users to modify ready-made report templates and then embed those personalized reports into other ARIA applications;

  • Data Segmentation manages information at sites that have more than one physical department or location so that procedure codes, cost/charge details and other information can be customized to reflect local requirements;

  • Outlook Sync allows users to synchronize appointments and tasks with a Microsoft Outlook calendar and download the information to a personal digital assistant (PDA) device; and

  • Trial Administrator manages the overall administrative needs of a clinical research office for trial activation, clinical monitoring and closure of research.
Also highlighted at the conference was the company's Dynamic Adaptive Radiotherapy (DART) system for personalized cancer care. DART offers an automated and integrated way of adapting radiotherapy treatment plans through IGRT. Varian also showcased its On Board Imager device for IGRT as well as its Trilogy and Clinac linear accelerators, and its Acuity treatment planning capabilities.