July 27, 2017

High-Tech “War Room” Centerpiece of New Cancer Center

Tracy Bridcutt, Adventist Record

A high-tech “cancer war room” is the centerpiece of the new Integrated Cancer Centre (ICC) at Sydney Adventist Hospital.

The purpose-built multidisciplinary room, which cost about $A1 million (about 800,000 USD), is designed for specialist doctors to simultaneously review a cancer patient’s case. Technology in the room allows the real time sharing of a range of information, such as pathology results and radiology images, from multiple sources to assist in diagnosis and treatment.

Associate Professor Gavin Marx, director of cancer services at the institution, said it is now recognized worldwide that a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care helps increase survival outcomes and improves the patient experience.

“As we progress and continue to improve outcomes for our patients, the treatment and treatment options become more complex,” Marx explained to the guests gathered to celebrate the ICC completion on July 25.

“To achieve the best outcomes, we need to be able to all work together efficiently and collaboratively,” said Marx.He described their multidisciplinary meeting room as “phenomenal.” “Using state-of-the-art technology, it allows us to work effectively together as a group with all the information required to define the best treatment options for an individual patient based on the input and expertise of all the sub-specialties involved,” he said.

Sydney Adventist Hospital information technology manager Barbara McKenzie said the room contains elements of audio visual technology that would be in a video conferencing room, overlaid with crisis management technology.

“I do refer to this room as the cancer war room because in the process of designing the technology to support the multidisciplinary team meetings we realized what the expert cancer doctors needed was a miniature crisis management room where they could collaborate digitally,” she said. “And from a patient’s perspective, they are in a fight against cancer.”

Hospital CEO Phil Currie said the center is a “world-class facility.” “It is a special resource for our community,” he said.

Planning for the ICC began 11 years ago and involved a significant fundraising effort.

Dick Warburton, co-chairman of the San Foundation Capital Campaign, revealed that $A23 million had been raised in donations for the project.

Mother-of-three Tanya Manwaring, who was diagnosed with an aggressive stage 3 breast cancer last December, said it was reassuring to have several doctors working on her case.

“My confidence increased, my fear dissipated,” she said. “My horrible assumptions about what lay ahead for me and all the misinformation that goes with it was replaced with facts and compassionate conversations about how a treatment plan would be individually mapped out for me and what it would look like on a week-to-week basis.”

Federal Member of Parliament Paul Fletcher and state Members of Parliament Matt Kean and Alister Henskens were among the other guests at the event.

The multidisciplinary room is the last element of the hospital’s $A200 million-plus redevelopment in the past few years.