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Radiation Therapy 2017
Technology Outpacing Interoperability

author - Monique Rasband
Monique Rasband
author - Sam Eaquinto
Sam Eaquinto
September 21, 2017 | Read Time: 3  minutes

Since KLAS last reported on radiation therapy in 2014, the overall high-performing market has seen some significant changes—adoption of Elekta’s go-forward platform (the Versa HD) has increased, and Varian customers have seen positive shifts in support and relationships. This report seeks to help provider organizations better understand radiation therapy vendor performance in the areas of functionality, support, and integration and will also examine the widening gap between the highest and lowest performers in the treatment planning market.

overall satisfaction with radiation therapy

1. Versa HD Making Elekta More Competitive

The 2013 release of the Versa HD has created increased interest in Elekta among potential customers. The Versa HD’s 160-leaf MLC allows for greater flexibility and precision in how the beam is shaped, giving providers the ability to better target inoperable areas. Elekta and Varian both deliver superior technology that meets customers’ needs, and this technology gives the vendors an edge over Accuray in purchasing decisions. Their treatment couches have six degrees of freedom, resulting in more precise, accurate delivery of radiation treatment. Providers can treat more patients, and in most cases patients receive faster care.

functionality and technology ratings

2. Varian Improving Customer Relationships; Accuray Spread Too Thin

In the past, many organizations described Varian as a difficult and sometimes arrogant vendor to work with. However, perceptions of Varian have begun to change as Varian has worked to repair customer relationships, be more of a partner, and develop a more customer-focused culture.

In radiation therapy, a partnering vendor and strong, fast field support are crucial to providers being able to deliver the care they want to their patients. Accuray is weak in both areas. Customers report that the support is good if technicians are close by, but in cases where they aren’t, it can take a day or two to get service. Also, unlike Varian’s and Elekta’s technicians, Accuray’s field technicians can’t preorder replacement parts before coming on-site, which extends the amount of time that equipment is down. In several areas, including support, TomoTherapy customers have become more satisfied than CyberKnife customers as Accuray has improved the TomoTherapy’s uptime and reliability.

executive involvement and proactive service

3. Accuray Equipment on an Island Due to Proprietary Treatment Planning Software

Weak integration with treatment planning software saddles organizations with longer, more complex setup processes that decrease overall productivity. As Varian’s and Elekta’s equipment has caught up to Accuray’s once-unique technology and as the rate of consolidation and acquisition among healthcare organizations has increased, Accuray’s proprietary treatment planning software has become more of an issue for customers. If the equipment goes down, providers and patients are faced with major workflow and scheduling challenges since plans cannot be transferred from Accuray’s systems to other equipment. Also, users encounter workflow challenges when switching between Accuray’s planning software and other vendors’. Outside of a few niche treatments, many users would opt for the throughput gains of other vendors’ equipment. TomoTherapy users are less dissatisfied with the proprietary software due to improvements to the equipment’s uptime and support.

In contrast with Accuray’s equipment, Varian’s and Elekta’s radiation therapy equipment ties in fairly well with other vendors’ oncology systems, excluding Accuray.

supports integration goalsoverall satisfaction with treatment planning

4. Treatment Planning Systems: Varian Customers Committed for the Long Haul; Philips’ Development Too Little, Too Late for Some

Varian is a bright spot in the overall lower-performing treatment planning market. Users of Varian Eclipse highlight its continued development and reliability. Elekta’s go-forward solution, Monaco Series, is easy to use, though product quality has been inconsistent and several customers have encountered bugs. Elekta’s XiO product is reliable but is being phased out.

Philips’ product development has been stagnant for several years, and almost 40% of interviewed customers say that Philips is not part of their long-term plans. A recently released update has received positive feedback, especially for the speed of creating plans; some customers are hopeful this signals a turnaround in Philips’ development focus.

part of long term plans

author - Elizabeth Pew
Elizabeth Pew
author - Jess Wallace-Simpson
Jess Wallace-Simpson
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This material is copyrighted. Any organization gaining unauthorized access to this report will be liable to compensate KLAS for the full retail price. Please see the KLAS DATA USE POLICY for information regarding use of this report. © 2024 KLAS Research, LLC. All Rights Reserved. NOTE: Performance scores may change significantly when including newly interviewed provider organizations, especially when added to a smaller sample size like in emerging markets with a small number of live clients. The findings presented are not meant to be conclusive data for an entire client base.