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At RaySearch we aim to automate parts of the treatment planning process as we truly believe it will help you improve patient outcome and access to care. We automate standard procedures so that you can spend your valuable time on complex cases and provide more personalized care to the patients. RayStation offers several tools to automate treatment planning: plan generating protocols, scripting, automated breast planning, fallback planning, plan explorer and last but not least machine learning! 


In this webinar, we explore some of the automation tools in several treatment-planning systems with a focus on those built into the RayStation TPS. The talk includes: use of protocols, templates and scripting; automatic breast planning; fallback planning; multi-criteria optimization; reduction of organ at risk; and plan exploration. We also look to the future and what automation means to dosimetrists and physicists, clinically and professionally.

Plan generating protocols

RayStation supports several tools such as templates and plan generation protocols to automate parts of the planning process. A protocol is a list of plan generation steps which can be applied automatically. Examples of plan generation steps include atlas based segmentation, plan creation, set dose grid resolution, add beams, add optimization functions and add optimization settings. When a protocol is run it will automatically create a plan using the included steps, which drastically reduces the planning time.


Scripting in RayStation provides automation, connectivity and flexibility beyond the standard user interface.

The script languages, IronPython and CPython, let you access all capabilities of the operating system and other applications, including the ability to write files, start processes, communicate with other computers and control scriptable applications such as Microsoft Office or .NET.

  • Automation. Clinic-specific procedures can be automated through scripting. A script can check for properties in a plan, such as small segments, disconnected target volumes, hotspots and undesirable gantry and couch angles. The system can then display a warning message or create a report.
  • Connectivity.  Scripting provides a way to customize the interaction between RayStation and other systems for scenarios where DICOM is not sufficient.
  • Flexibility. Scripting enables you to use the power of RayStation in the way that best serves the needs of your facility. It can be used to create functionality that is not specifically available in the standard interface. For example, automatic marker detection, export of images of non-standard dose planes and images of all control points can be utilized as desired.
  • Data mining. Clinics can easily and efficiently access any
    data in RayStation using the powerful scripting capabilities. It is quick and easy to obtain any information about single or multiple patients in
    RayStation, which can speed up any research you need to do.


Introduction to scripting

In-depth scripting demo

Automated plan check routine at NCCC

“This automated self-check before clinical evaluation increases safety and plan homogeneity and consistency, as well saving 20 minutes per patient,” Walker says. “It’s also valuable as a training tool. I’m impressed by how much can be achieved with scripting in RayStation and how customizable the system is. We now use scripting for many aspects of the plan production process.”

Chris Walker

Head of Radiotherapy Physics, NCCC

A flying start to the treatment planning process 

“Being able to use RayStation programmatically like this, with the built-in scripting feature, we are able to replace a surprisingly large number of manual tasks with automation. By making just a few selections in our scripts, everything is set up and, in many cases, we can get a decently optimized treatment plan from the get-go. This feels like having a flying start to the treatment planning process.”

Christoffer Lervåg

Medical Physicist at Ålesund Hospital

Automated breast planning

RayStation’s automated breast planning solution, rayAutoBreast, is the first step in RaySearch’s ambition to automate standard procedures.

It was initially developed at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) in Toronto, Canada. Between 2009 and 2012, PMH ran a large scale clinical study to evaluate the performance of this automated treatment planning methodology for tangential breast intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).

In their study results, PMH observed an increase in clinical acceptance using this fully automated method. They conclude that the method can add tremendous efficiency, standardization, and quality to the current treatment planning process and that its use will allow faster adoption of IMRT together with increased access to care improvements for breast cancer patients [1].

[1] T.G. Purdie et al., “Automated Planning of Tangential Breast Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy Using Heuristic Optimization”, Int.J. Radiation Oncology Biol.Phys.Vol. 81, No.2, pp. 575-583, 2011.


The rayAutoBreast module provides tools for automated generation of tangential breast IMRT plans using heuristic optimization and includes features such as:

  • Automatic detection of radio-opaque markers defining the breast.
  • Automatic contouring of all the relevant target and risk organs.
  • Automatic setup of beams, including heuristic optimization of gantry and collimator angles.
  • Automatic creation of objective functions, optimization and segmentation settings and clinical goals.
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Fallback planning

Fallback planning is a tool for creating additional plans to be used in a contingency situation, enabling a patient to be treated on another machine, possibly with a different modality and/or treatment technique, in case the original machine is unavailable. It can drastically reduce planning time in emergency situations when a machine is down allowing the patients´ treatment to continue and reducing stress on staff.

  • Fallback planning uses a dose mimicking function to replicate the DVHs of a given plan, but for a different machine or treatment modality.
  • Plans of any modality, including proton and tomotherapy plans, can be replicated using photon plans like 3D-CRT, IMRT, or VMAT.
  • Fallback plans are automatically generated after plan approval based on previously created protocols.
  • No user interaction is required as this is a fully automated plan creation process. If needed the created fallback plans can be manually modified after the automatic generation.
  • Fallback plans can be compared and evaluated using a number of visual tools (DVH curves, dose differences, etc.).
  • A Fallback plan can be approved and used for delivery in future fractions. It is also possible to convert back to the original plan.
  • With dose summation tools, two plans can be combined using their delivered fractions so that actual composite dose can be visualized on the patient data set.


Plan explorer is based on the capability to automatically generate a large number of treatment plans for defined clinical goals and combinations of treatment techniques and machines. It also provides efficient means to filter and browse among plan candidates to find the most desired one.

Plan Explorer brings many potential clinical benefits and now you can:

  • explore more of the solution space to ensure that every radiation treatment is delivered with the highest possible efficiency, with an optimal combination of treatment technique and machine;
  • maximize the use of your current treatment delivery machines;
  • and get more time to evaluate the plans 

Webinar: Plan Explorer redefines automated planning

In part one of this webinar, Freddie Cardel outlines the concept of automatic plan generation with Plan Explorer and demonstrates a completely new level of automation. He explains the approach, where large numbers of high-quality treatment plans are automatically generated for defined clinical goals and combinations of treatment techniques and machines, and shows how these plans can be easily filtered and browsed to find the most suitable candidates to be evaluated. In part two, Erik Korevaar and Roel Kierkels present the first findings of the clinical evaluation they performed at University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands, and describe how the center envisions the use of the tool in clinical practice.