Dreiling/Schmidt Cancer Institute will soon be equipped with a new imaging system called VisionRT that offers pinpoint accuracy and enhanced patient safety during radiation treatments.
The institute, which is part of the Hays Medical Center family, is one of only two facilities between Shawnee, Ks., and Denver to offer this system.
VisionRT is just one benefit that goes hand-in-hand with the new SBRT linear accelerator that soon will be available at the institute. SBRT stands for Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy, which reduces the number of treatments for patients that qualify.
The new imaging system is just more icing on the cake.
“VisionRT has three cameras that provide a three-dimensional map of the patient,” said Lindsey Fox, medical physicist. “We use this to track the patient’s position and movement during treatment. There are tight margins around the tumor, and with x-rays and CT images we can visualize the situation.
“Treatments will be done more quickly and we can monitor the patient’s movement at all times,” Fox continued. “We set the patient up in the exact position each time and if there is movement outside of tolerances, the radiation beam shuts off automatically.”
Leo Elms, medical dosimetrist/radiation oncology operations manager, noted the system is extremely accurate and reliable.
“It is so accurate,” he explained, “you can tell if someone blinks. It could be a slow, gradual movement or a sudden movement.
“The automatic shut-off ensures the proper area is treated,” he added. “We don’t want to treat areas that are not intended to be treated. With SBRT, everything is multiplied. So we take extra precautions to prevent radiation from going to areas where we don’t want it to go.”
The new system will benefit a majority of patients – whether traditional or more complex treatments are involved.
VisionRT also will allow Dreiling/Schmidt to offer what is called a “breath-hold treatment” that is important in caring for patients with certain breast cancers.
Elms and Fox noted this new equipment is just one more example of HaysMed going the extra mile for patients and their families.
“Dr. John Jeter, the board of directors and the administration want to provide high-quality services so that HaysMed can be the best community hospital,” Elms said. “We take that very seriously in radiation oncology and at Dreiling/Schmidt.
“We have the same equipment as major cancer centers, and go beyond what other centers do,” he continued. “We have decades of experience here, with a well-balanced, well-educated staff. It is a pleasure to work with these high-level professionals.”
Elms also noted that a person seeking treatment at Dreiling/Schmidt “is not just a number, not just another patient. The level of care here is probably not given at larger places because of sheer volume. We are fortunate here in western Kansas.”
Fox, who came to Dreiling/Schmidt late in 2013, said she was impressed early on with HaysMed.
“One thing I noticed right away was the whole attitude here – not just in radiation oncology but throughout the hospital,” she said. “They are willing to make changes and stay current. This is a rapidly changing field with new technologies.
“HaysMed is open to this,” she continued. “No one is hesitant to make changes. We are staying in the forefront of technology, and are progressive and open-minded.”
Dreiling/Schmidt has been completely remodeled. It now features a more modern look, enhanced privacy and comfort, and new clinical treatment areas. Partial funding for the renovation came from contributions to the HaysMed Foundation capital campaign, “Beyond Medicine.”