IMV Report Finds New Technology Makes Radiation Therapy More Efficient

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New types of radiation therapy technology are making it possible to treat cancer patients more efficiently, requiring fewer trips to treatment facilities, while also spurring interest in capital equipment acquisition, according to a new report published by IMV Medical Information Division.

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Compared to a decade ago, total patient volume has been relatively stable.

New types of radiation therapy technology are making it possible to treat cancer patients more efficiently, requiring fewer trips to treatment facilities, while also spurring interest in capital equipment acquisition, according to a new report published by IMV Medical Information Division.

While the number of patients receiving radiation therapy has remained about the same or is up slightly, the number of treatment visits is declining and the number of treatment courses provided is growing, IMV found. This indicates that more cancer patients are being treated with fewer treatment visits per patient.

The estimated number of courses of treatment using radiation therapy -- a measure that corresponds to patient volume -- increased 5% from 965,620 in 2012 to 1,016,565 in 2013. These courses were provided at 2,280 radiation therapy centers in hospital and nonhospital locations in the United States.

“Compared to a decade ago, total patient volume has been relatively stable, increasing at an average annual rate of less than 1%,” observed Lorna Young, senior director of market research at IMV. “Meanwhile, the estimated number of treatment visits has declined 5%, from 20.9 million in 2012 to 19.8 million in 2013, suggesting that new technology is enabling clinicians to treat patients with fewer visits to the treatment room.”

Improvements in radiation therapy technologies that help deliver safe, efficient, and effective treatments to patients are continuing to drive capital purchases. The research indicates that in the next three years, more than one-third (34%) of U.S. radiation therapy facilities plan to purchase external-beam radiation therapy units that incorporate advanced treatment technologies such as image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), respiratory gating, and rotational arc therapy.

The report also states that the proportion of radiation therapy sites with capital budgets of $1 million or more is expected to grow from 14% in 2013 to 26% in 2015.

An equal 34% proportion of U.S. radiation therapy sites plan to acquire or upgrade their oncology information systems over the next three years, with nearly 90% of the planned implementations and upgrades of oncology information systems incorporating patient information from the facility’s electronic medical record (EMR) system. Of the planned implementations, 21% of the sites plan to purchase new oncology information systems and 79% plan to upgrade their current capabilities.

IMV’s 2014 Radiation Therapy Market Summary Report describes trends in the adoption of therapeutic techniques, equipment, and radioactive agents. Equipment types covered include external-beam therapy units, simulators (including CT, PET/CT, MR, and x-ray simulators), treatment planning systems, IGRT, record and verify/oncology information systems, and brachytherapy equipment. Other technologies covered include IMRT, inverse planning, rotational arc therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, and prostate seed therapy.

Radiation therapy equipment and software vendors covered in the report include Accuray, Brainlab, Elekta, GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare, RaySearch, Siemens Healthcare, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Varian Medical Systems, and Xoft.

The data source for this report is IMV’s latest Radiation Therapy Census Database, which provides comprehensive profiles of radiation therapy sites in the United States. For more information about IMV’s Radiation Therapy Census Database and corresponding reports, visit the corporate website at http://www.imvinfo.com or call 847-297-1404, ext. 116, to speak with a representative.

IMV Medical Information Division is a marketing research and consulting firm founded in 1977, specializing in medical imaging and other advanced healthcare technology markets. IMV's marketing research services, in combination with its databases of U.S. imaging sites with selected modalities, provide clients with valuable assistance in strategic planning, customer satisfaction, product development, and sales initiatives.

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