Illinois CyberKnife Celebrates Patient Safety Awareness Week

In recognition of Patient Safety Awareness Week, Illinois CyberKnife at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital joins a nation-wide effort to encourage engagement of patients, families and the community by promoting the importance of being an active participant in the health care delivery process.

National Patient Safety Awareness Week, an annual campaign led by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), is celebrated March 4 – 10. This year’s theme, “Be Aware for Safe Care,” spotlights the need for collaboration among health care providers, patient advocates and other community organizations to help educate patients on how they can become more engaged in the delivery of their care.

Cancer care is one area in which patients have increasingly become more aware of the need to be engaged in the treatment decision and process. With so many different treatment options for various types of cancers and the associated benefits, risks and side effects of each, patient and family engagement is crucial in ensuring an informed treatment decision is made and delivery of safe care is provided.

At Illinois CyberKnife, medical physicists play a primary role in ensuring patient safety throughout the treatment process. CyberKnife is a robotic technology that treats cancerous and benign tumors in the brain, spine, lung, liver, pancreas, prostate and kidney with a procedure called stereotactic radiosurgery, a noninvasive method of treating tumors with high-dose radiation precisely aimed from different angles.

The complex and unique combination of CyberKnife’s components calls for routine tests to maintain quality assurance and ensure safe delivery of radiation treatment. Medical physicists on CyberKnife treatment teams are extensively trained in quality assurance testing.

“Patient engagement and safety is a top priority for us,” said Dr. Arica Hirsch, medical director at Illinois CyberKnife. “Our team works closely with each patient to ensure they fully understand the CyberKnife treatment process, which is part of providing not only high quality care, but also peace of mind.”

Throughout treatment, the physics staff at Illinois CyberKnife works closely with other members of the treatment team to support imaging, treatment planning, and quality assurance testing of the technology and its components.

“Our quality assurance program ensures the CyberKnife is delivering radiation with sub-millimeter accuracy,” said physicist Tony Simon. “We utilize a highly specialized set of testing procedures that are performed at daily, weekly, monthly and annual intervals.”

CyberKnife provides a safe, noninvasive treatment alternative to surgery and conventional radiation therapy. Treatment is complete in one to five treatment sessions, and patients are allowed to go home immediately after each procedure to resume normal activities. Globally, over 200,000 patients have been treated with CyberKnife.

In partnership with Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and local physicians, Illinois CyberKnife is a US Radiosurgery facility and is a service of the hospital. The center is located at 1700 Luther Lane, Suite 1110, Park Ridge, Ill. Contact Illinois CyberKnife at (847) 723-0100 or visit www.IllinoisCK.com to determine if you or a loved one may be a CyberKnife candidate. Most insurance plans and Medicare are accepted.

For more information about National Patient Safety Awareness Week, visit www.npsf.org.