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A Model for Collaborative Software Development: Integration in Treatment Plan Checks

K Younge1 , S Berry2*, X Chen1 , H Pham2 , Y Zhou2 , S Elguindi2 , G Mageras2 , M Kessler1 , J Mechalakos2 , M Hunt2 , K Woch Naheedy1 , M Ditman1 , W Keranen3 , J Moran1 , (1) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, (2) Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, (13) Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA


(Sunday, 7/29/2018) 3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Room: Exhibit Hall | Forum 4

Purpose: Automation is an effective method to improve and standardize treatment planning and plan QA checks. We present a multi-institution collaboration to design, create, and implement clinical automated software tools for treatment plan QA.

Methods: Institution 1 designed a framework for an automated Plan Checker Tool (PCT) using Varian’s Eclipse Scripting Application Programming Interface (ESAPI). A collaboration was subsequently formed with Institution 2 to facilitate PCT implementation at both institutions and their associated affiliates as well as joint development of programming subunits called “checkers� that use flexible configuration files to accommodate institutional workflow differences. A formal mechanism was followed where new checkers were presented to members of both teams for discussion. An analysis was performed of the software release cycle at the two institutions and PCT’s clinical use. An example joint project was to eliminate false PCT flags which could undermine the tool’s effectiveness and acceptance by staff.

Results: The collaboration began in late 2014, with Institution 1 clinically releasing PCT in 02/2015, and Institution 2 in 04/2016. The software framework has been robust in supporting both institutions with only one framework change since clinical release. The PCT has been used clinically nearly 10,000 times at each institution. A total of 104 automated or semi-automated elements are currently in clinical use, 52 at Institution 1, 79 at Institution 2, with 27 in joint use. The joint effort to reduce false flags led to changes in 33.3% of checkers at Institution 1 and 21.4% at Institution 2.

Conclusion: Collaboration between two institutions with different plan QA requirements and workflows yielded QA software now in clinical use across multiple locations. The development cycle has been greatly enhanced and our clinics have benefited from the standardization of the plan checking process.

Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: S Berry, M Hunt, G Mageras, K Younge, and J Moran hold research grants from Varian Medical Systems unrelated to this project.


Not Applicable / None Entered.


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