Big Data and CancerLinQ Can Help to Optimize Patient Outcomes in Oncology

Wayne Kuznar

August 2014, Vol 5, No 6 - AVBCC 2014 4th Annual Conference


Los Angeles, CA—CancerLinQ is focused on improving quality of cancer care and enhancing outcomes by providing patients and providers real-time access to big data in a rapid electronic system, said George W. Sledge, Jr, MD, Chief, Division of Oncology, Stanford University Medical Center, CA. Dr Sledge discussed how CancerLinQ can improve patient care at the Fourth Annual Conference of the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care.

Improving Quality
CancerLinQ began as the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)’s response to the 2012 publication of the “Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care” from the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The goal of the IOM report was “to facilitate progress toward a learning health system—in which science, informatics, incentives, and culture are aligned for continuous improvement and innovation, with best practices seamlessly embedded in the delivery process and new knowledge captured as an integral by-product of the delivery experience.”

According to Dr Sledge, “the primary purpose of CancerLinQ is to improve the quality of care to enhance outcomes. This hopefully will manifest itself at several different levels, first for patients.” CancerLinQ, he noted, “should allow patients to, in a very real way, be able to monitor which clinical trials would be best for them. It will allow us to improve safety monitoring,” as well as “real-time side effect management” and improved patient reporting outcomes.

CancerLinQ “works off of ASCO’s long experience with quality initiatives through the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative [QOPI],” Dr Sledge said. “It leverages our long-stand­ing experience in terms of guideline development.”

This tool will also allow oncologists to fill in the knowledge gaps because 97% of patients are never enrolled into a clinical trial.

Clinical Decision Support
“The ability to scan for real-time second opinions is something that I think physicians as a group will love. Even the smartest doctor is not aware of all the data, and even the smartest doctor will pull aside his colleagues for a curbside consult on a regular basis,” he noted. “Being able to do this across the broad system of oncology healthcare will be very important.”

“Clinical decision support will have a primary place in CancerLinQ,” Dr Sledge said. Clinical decision support will be “based on ASCO guidelines, observational clinical decision, and research support, and, hopefully, reach a point where we can disrupt the pernicious preauthorization approaches that swallow up so much of physicians’ and nurses’ time,” he said.

The ability to acquire data from electronic health records (EHRs) from multiple practices, “batch” the data, and automate the processing across numerous competing EHR systems was very important, said Dr Sledge.

Accessing Big Data in Clinical Practice
“Physicians will be able to access research literature and guidelines in real time at the point of care and will be able to do quality reporting and benchmarking.”

Researchers and public health pro­fessionals will benefit from CancerLinQ by being able to mine big data, Dr Sledge said. “Being able to aggregate data across very large healthcare systems will be crucially important as we move forward in personalized therapy,” he said.

Aggregation will improve hypothesis generation and will provide correlation analysis and trend analysis over time. These data will enhance patient recruitment into trials, identify early adverse effects, and will show early signals of effectiveness in the off-label use of drugs. The data will inevitably feed back into the clinic to allow improved patient care.

Over time, he said, the goal is to expand the use of CancerLinQ to pharmaceutical companies, payers, and insurers.