Improving proton therapy accessibility through seamless electronic integration of remote treatment planning sites

Arnaud Belard*, Derek Dolney, Tochner Zelig, James McDonough, John O'Connell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objectives: Proton radiotherapy is a relatively scarce treatment modality in radiation oncology, with only nine centers currently operating in the United States. Funded by Public Law 107-248, the University of Pennsylvania and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center have developed a remote proton radiation therapy solution with the goals of improving access to proton radiation therapy for Department of Defense (DoD) beneficiaries while minimizing treatment delays and time spent away from home/work (time savings of up to 3 weeks per patient). Materials and Methods: To meet both Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act guidelines and the more stringent security restrictions imposed by the DoD, our program developed a hybrid remote proton radiation therapy solution merging a CITRIX server with a JITIC-certified (Joint Interoperability Test Command) desktop videoconferencing unit. This conduit, thoroughly tested over a period of 6 months, integrates both institutions' radiation oncology treatment planning infrastructures into a single entity for DoD patients' treatment planning and delivery. Results: This telemedicine solution enables DoD radiation oncologists and medical physicists the ability to (1) remotely access a proton therapy treatment planning platform, (2) transfer patient plans securely to the University of Pennsylvania patient database, and (3) initiate ad-hoc point-to-point and multipoint videoconferences to dynamically optimize and validate treatment plans. Conclusions: Our robust and secure remote treatment planning solution grants DoD patients not only access to a state-of-the-art treatment modality, but also participation in the treatment planning process by Walter Reed Army Medical Center radiation oncologists and medical physicists. This telemedicine system has the potential to lead to a greater integration of military treatment facilities and/or satellite clinics into regional proton therapy centers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-375
Number of pages6
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • radiation therapy
  • remote treatment planning
  • virtual medical simulation


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