Parker Adventist first in world with new oncology device

Facial recognition verifies identities to prevent errors, guides self-monitoring radiation treatment

Posted 7/2/19

Medical professionals around the globe are looking to Parker Adventist Hospital for its use of state-of-the-art technology to ensure proper treatment for cancer patients. Beginning in March, Parker …

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Parker Adventist first in world with new oncology device

Facial recognition verifies identities to prevent errors, guides self-monitoring radiation treatment

Posted

Medical professionals around the globe are looking to Parker Adventist Hospital for its use of state-of-the-art technology to ensure proper treatment for cancer patients.

Beginning in March, Parker Adventist began implementing facial recognition technology to make sure patients are receiving the exact specifications of their prescribed radiation treatment. SafeRT-ID uses optical imaging to verify a patient’s identity prior to each treatment. It works with existing radiation oncology equipment made by its parent company Vision RT, which uses precision guidance technology — not operated by human touch — to provide radiation treatment and monitor movement with sub-millimeter accuracy.

What exactly does it do? It takes away the risk of a patient getting the treatment prescribed for someone else.

“It eliminates human error,” said Parker Adventist’s director of radiation oncology, Amy Horner.

According to Centura Health, Parker Adventist is the first hospital in the world to use facial recognition for cancer treatment. Horner said representatives from hospitals across the country and the globe have come to Parker to see this technology with their own eyes and determine if it’s viable for their own facility. The only catch, as with any new medical technology, is the price tag. Horner said the whole setup cost about $65,000.

Patients who undergo radiation therapy need a regular, intense dosage of radiation directly administered to the cancerous area. Each patient has a unique set of specifications for everything from their dosage prescription to their head placement while receiving treatment. Having a headrest set even one millimeter out of place can have a drastic effect on the placement of the entire body and can lead to mistakes in dosage. Those mistakes are few and far between, but, Horner said, even the slightest change to mitigate human error can make a difference.

“It’s important to the patients’ peace of mind to know they’re getting the best possible treatment,” Horner said. “To provide that at Parker, it’s huge. Some patients travel to Mayo Clinic — they travel nationwide for that place they feel will provide the best treatment. And we’ve got it right here.”

Doug Powell of Douglas County finished radiation therapy for prostate cancer near the end of April. He used the facial recognition technology for about the last two months of his total treatment, which began last fall. Powell, 76, an engineer by trade, said he was pragmatic when considering the technology, and said the ease of the whole procedure made him comfortable.

“For two months, it’s five days a week, and by the end you’re just counting down … It’s just a tedious process every day,” Powell said. “I can’t tell you how the peace and calmness and comfort of coming in and working with this crew just makes it easy.”

The new technology, Horner said, is an extension of the hospital’s holistic approach to cancer treatment. The hospital offers everything from radiation therapy to massage treatment for its patients. Having the newest technology adds to that element of comfort doctors try to provide to their patients, Horner said.

The use of facial recognition technology coupled with the guidance technology takes away the need for a human to set a patient’s treatment, but it also is one less thing for a human to have to touch, mitigating the spread of germs. With dozens of patients receiving treatment per day, removing any potential sources of contracting germs from a previous patient is critical.

“Incorporating cutting-edge technology into our hospitals is just one of the ways Centura Health is ensuring we provide industry-leading patient care,” said Mike Goebel, the CEO at Parker Adventist Hospital.  “We have incredibly skilled medical technicians in our oncology department but removing the chance for human error with SafeRT-ID technology gives patients even more peace of mind to know they are receiving the exact and most effective radiotherapy to help them fight and defeat cancer.”

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