gms | German Medical Science

48th Meeting of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group

Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG)

28.09. - 03.10.2009, Heidelberg

Ability to use Telemedicine Platforms to Teach Proton Treatment Planning at multiple locations as demonstrated in Resident Education

Meeting Abstract

  • D. Erickson - Radiation Oncology Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., USA
  • L. Greer - Radiation Oncology Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., USA
  • A. Belard - Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Rockville, Maryland, USA
  • B. Tinnel - Radiation Oncology Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., USA
  • J. O'Connell - Radiation Oncology Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., USA

PTCOG 48. Meeting of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group. Heidelberg, 28.09.-03.10.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09ptcog058

doi: 10.3205/09ptcog058, urn:nbn:de:0183-09ptcog0583

Published: September 24, 2009

© 2009 Erickson et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate the ability to teach proton treatment planning via the multi-point sharing of treatment planning software. The effectiveness of this training tool on graduate medical education was investigated.

Materials and methods: As part of a collaborative effort between the University of Pennsylvania and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, new telemedicine platforms are being developed to allow for remote proton therapy treatment planning. As a trial run of this platform, prior to the proton facility's final implementation at the University of Pennsylvania, the National Capital Consortium Radiation Oncology Residency Program resident and attending physicians participated in dosimetry teaching conferences held via VTC using Adobe® Acrobat® ConnectTM application sharing. Residents at remote locations could take turns practicing with the virtual simulation software for radiation therapy treatment planning, while instructors gave immediate feedback and demonstrated proper techniques. Immediately after each dosimetry conference, residents were given a survey to complete which evaluated the effectiveness of the session. At the end of a three-month trial of using Adobe® Acrobat® ConnectTM, residents completed a final survey which compared this teaching technology to the more traditional VTC-only approach.

Results: The mean difference from equality across all quality measures for the technology used at conferences was 0.8, where 0 indicated neither enhanced nor detracted from the learning experience and 1 indicated a minor enhancement in the learning experience. The mean difference from equality across all measures from the final survey comparing use of application-sharing-with-VTC to VTC-only was 1.5, where 1 indicated slightly better and 2 indicated a somewhat better experience.

Conclusion: Compared to traditional, non-dynamic, VTC lectures, the incorporation of virtual simulation treatment planning software within a multi-point VTC has the potential to greatly improve the comprehensive understanding of medical dosimetry. We conclude that this improved understanding would exist for the teaching of both conventional and proton radiation therapy.

This work was supported by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under Contract Agreement No. DAMD17-W81XWH-04-2-0022. The views, opinions, interpretations, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this abstract are the authors and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of Army, Navy, Department of Defense, or US government.