Core77 Design Awards
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Varian's ProBeam proton therapy system is a cancer treatment system that uses protons rather than X-rays to treat cancerous tumors with great precision. It is effective for certain types of cancers and can treat with a high dose of radiation to the tumor, while delivering lower radiation to the surrounding healthy tissue.
The ProBeam patient treatment room incorporates many of the familiar features and functionality from the Varian radiation oncology experience. Based on nearly 70 years of experience in radiation oncology, the workflow in the treatment room was designed for therapists by therapists. With this fully integrated system and highly efficient workflow, clinicians can minimize patients' time in the treatment room. The cylindrical treatment room is patient friendly and provides easy access for clinicians.
Our team was tasked with designing an effective, approachable interface between cancer patients, clinical staff, and a highly complex piece of therapeutic equipment the size of a tennis court (in its smallest configuration). The environmental design also needed to be both welcoming to patients and communicate to them that they are receiving the most advanced care possible. We sought to maximize patient comfort and help staff move patients efficiently through the treatment process. For accurate imaging and beam targeting, patients must be carefully positioned on a robotic table allowing six degrees of movement, all within a rotating floor-to-ceiling gantry.
Making the ProBeam System easy to service was also a concern, in order to minimize downtime and maintain consistent accuracy. The solution needed to be scalable, providing multiple pricing tiers for customers to choose from, without sacrificing the core experience and functionality.
Elemental8's took an integrated approach to developing the Varian ProBeam proton therapy system, addressing numerous design, engineering, and usability challenges, while treating a room-sized medical system with an attention to detail normally given to much smaller products. Through an automated patient positioning system and interfaces that are familiar to clinicians, patients can move quickly through the treatment process. Because ProBeam proton therapy is fast and highly-accurate, patients only need 4-5 weeks of daily treatments, compared to 6-7 weeks for traditional cancer therapies.
The ProBeam stands apart from other proton therapy systems through its exclusive use of pencil beam scanning. By programming a scan to the precise depth of the tumor, clinicians are now able to treat tumors in difficult locations (for example tumors that are surrounded by critical, healthy tissue and organs). This can reduce the side effects common in traditional radiotherapy by sparing healthy tissues.
The ProBeam robotic treatment table can be operated from inside the treatment room, or remotely from the control room. The treatment table moves into position automatically based on detailed 3D patient scans made by the system. With many other proton therapy systems, the radiation therapist must always enter the room to make table adjustments. Because the head directing the proton beam is attached to a gantry that rotates a full 360º, there's no need to reposition the patient partway through the treatment. The table is designed to be comfortable, exact, and secure. The table's controller is operable with a single hand, freeing one of the therapist's hands to make contact with the patient.
The treatment environment is carefully crafted to keep patients calm and comfortable. Lighting dims to match a patient's breathing while sound-dampening panels provide a soothing environment. Separate lighting schemes match to the needs of each use phase: setup, treatment, cleanup, and service. Every zone of the patient treatment room has a dedicated purpose. Therapists can maintain a visual and auditory connection with patients while they interact with computers from the safety of a specially designed alcove protected by radiation shielding glass.
The treatment room workflow is designed for therapists by therapists to be highly efficient and minimize the time patients spend in the treatment room. The cylindrical treatment room is open and welcoming to patients while providing easy access for clinicians. The ProBeam patient treatment room incorporates many familiar features and functions from the Varian radiation oncology experience, so therapists face a short learning curve when transitioning to the ProBeam system.
Flooring and panels are designed to be easily cleaned during or between treatments. Each panel can be carried by a single person and all areas needing maintenance are designed to be easily accessible, so the ProBeam system can be serviced by a single person.
Elemental8 has helped Varian make a bold statement about their commitment to design. Images of patients and therapists interacting in the iconic ProBeam treatment room provide a unique and relatable "face" for a sophisticated system that extends far beyond what is seen by patients and therapists. Varian uses this imagery to effectively communicate the value and accessibility of its proton therapy system to potential customers. Because the ProBeam system has been designed to help therapists move patients quickly though the treatment process, Varian can advertise high patient throughput, meaning a customer can quickly recuperate the significant investment of building a ProBeam system into their facility. In turn, customers can tout the benefits to patients of less time spent in treatment. Because the design of the ProBeam treatment room is flexible and modular, Varian can easily adapt their offering to a client's specific treatment needs, cost constraints, and aesthetic preferences.
Undergoing cancer treatment can be a painful, frightening time for patients. The Varian ProBeam's spacious treatment room is designed create a welcoming soothing atmosphere. Therapists are able to maintain all-important human contact during treatment through one-handed patient positioning controls, an open treatment area, and transparent radiation shielding.
The precision proton therapy provided by this system allows therapists to target tumors while limiting damage to healthy tissue, meaning patients experience fewer side effects then they would with other forms of radiation therapy. By shortening treatment times, patients and caregivers can get back to living their lives. Being able to provide accurate treatment to more patients in a shorter amount of time helps reduce the cost of healthcare, providing a significant benefit to society.