Oncology, information systems  

Varian oncology software benchmarked by UK Health Service

10 July 2006

Crawley, UK. Varian Medical Systems’ medical oncology software for integrated chemotherapy e-prescribing and pharmacy dispensing has performed strongly against rival systems after being benchmarked against a national specification by the UK’s National Health Service.

The benchmarking exercise was carried out by the e-prescribing team from NHS Connecting for Health in conjunction with the National Cancer Action Team. The medical oncology software systems of several suppliers were tested.

“The Varian MedOncology system demonstrated the second highest level of functionality during the exercise but has now developed even further,” says Steve Laws, Varian’s medical oncology sales manager. “We are delighted that although being a recent entrant into a mature chemotherapy prescribing systems market, our software is already considered as providing one of the best fits for NHS requirements, particularly in the areas of safety and scalability.”

Due to the potential benefits of electronic chemotherapy prescribing, a capital sum has been made available for UK health trusts to bid against. Trusts can now put together business cases for software-based electronic chemotherapy prescribing solutions at their oncology departments. The business case must be submitted by September and capital funding will be released in early October. Installations need to be underway by March 2007.

Varian’s VARiS MedOncology system is designed to improve patient care and departmental efficiency by fully integrating the prescribing, preparation, dispensing and administration of drugs. It significantly reduces the risk of human error.

“This system provides cancer treatment facilities with software that combines and manages information including scheduling, prescribing and clinical information for both radiation therapy and chemotherapy within a single comprehensive electronic medical record for each patient,” adds Steve Laws.

“It is inherently designed to support multi-site implementations and is therefore ideally suited for use across complete cancer networks. The technology is well proven as well, as it supports much larger installations than cancer networks such as complete Canadian provinces. Regimen libraries, for example, can be shared across the entire user community.”

Varian’s medical oncology solution is already in place in a number of UK hospitals including London (St Barts), Norwich, Stoke, Carlisle, Redhill, Truro and Romford. Since the benchmarking exercise was undertaken, Varian has announced a more advanced oncology information system called ARIA, which contains many new features including a number specifically targeted at the UK market.

“ARIA represents a new generation of Varian software systems that furthers Varian’s vision of enabling cancer centres to build fully integrated solutions across all functions of the centre,” said Walter Frei, head of Varian’s Oncology Systems business in Europe.

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