In May of this year, Varian completed the global release of ARIA eDoc, a PDF software printer application for the ARIA® oncology information system for radiation oncology, designed to help ease the transition to paperless systems and simplify document workflow. With just one click, ARIA eDoc converts documents into PDF files, and automatically inserts them into the correct patient’s chart.
Originally released in Europe in May 2018, ARIA eDoc is already being used by a growing number of clinics looking to simplify document workflow in ARIA. With minimal advanced set up, ARIA eDoc can import any structured, text-based document or merge multiple documents as PDFs.
Samuel Peters is a medical physicist and the ARIA system administrator at Kantonsspital St. Gallen, the main hospital for the Canton of St. Gallen and the sixth largest hospital in Switzerland. For him and the hospital’s busy staff, ARIA eDoc was very helpful in the move to paperless.
Samuel Peters, medical physicist at Kantonsspital St. Gallen
“We decided to go fully electronic in January 2019 and used ARIA eDoc to help us,” Peters explains. “Now all of our work in ARIA—from patient registration and diagnosis documentation to treatment planning and eventual follow up—is done electronically.”
To add a document into the document workspace of the ARIA database, the user simply locates the document and clicks Print on the ARIA eDoc network printer. The software converts the document to PDF and inserts it into the patient’s chart based on the patient’s ID.
For Peters and the staff at St. Gallen’s, the time savings have been notable. In the previous manual process, staff had to find the report or document, save it somewhere, then search for the patient and manually import the document into the patient’s chart. This type of manual process can make it challenging to ensure the document ends up in the right place and in the right template, increasing the risk of medical errors.
“Now you just press Print, wait a few seconds and it’s right where it needs to be and in the right format,” Peters says. “This helps make the workflow easier and safer, and helps avoid serious mistakes.”
Safety is a key benefit to ARIA eDoc as it reduces many of the steps where mistakes can happen and ensures that the correct patient document is inserted into the correct patient chart.
In addition to a set of default profiles that handle reports from ARIA, Eclipse™ treatment planning, and Aura (the ARIA Unified Reporting Application), ARIA eDoc also works with Microsoft Excel, Word, and Notepad, as long the patient ID is on the form. As part of the out-of-the-box package, customers can request up to three customized profiles, including site-specific or third-party documents.
“We have a lot of profiles, with Eclipse being one of the largest,” Peters explains. “We also import and save portal dosimetry verification reports from inside ARIA, treatment verification reports from two third-party systems that are not integrated with ARIA, and reports from our Tomotherapy® machine. If you can print out on paper you can use eDoc, it’s just that simple.”
For Peters and his staff, the flexibility of ARIA eDoc also translates to improved efficiency, reducing the time taken to print multiple documents every day for the more than 1200 patients served each year. The time saved means the staff can focus on other patient-related tasks rather than spend time on mundane and repetitive work.
In addition to automatically inserting the PDF into the correct patient’s chart, ARIA eDoc can create and update document revisions. If a document already exists in the system and has been approved, any new version added to the system is marked as pending. The workflow for the approved or pending status can be customized based on requirements.
ARIA eDoc Schematic
“Everything about eDoc translates to time savings,” Peters says. “It makes the workflow easier and I don’t have to think about which patient, which document type, or where it’s stored. It’s in the right place and I can go into the system and read it and check whenever I like.”
Documents uploaded by ARIA eDoc to the workspace also are available on Varian Mobile for secure access by the care team on a mobile device. This helps ensure staff has the right information at hand whenever and wherever needed.
At St. Gallen’s, the transition to electronic documents has been aided by ARIA eDoc, even though Peters jokes that sometimes staff members get impatient at now having to wait ten seconds or so until the document is available in ARIA. His advice to other facilities?
“When you go through such a transition you have the opportunity to review your processes and the types of reports you need,” he concludes. “We were able to replace one or two older reports with newer ones and they can all be printed as PDFs through ARIA eDoc now. It’s been a huge success.”