Author: Allison Kavanagh

Fast-Growing Oncology Startup OncoLens Secures $7.25 Million Series A Funding

OncoLens, a pioneer in tumor board and cancer treatment planning solutions, announced today that it has raised a $7.25 million Series A investment from BIP Capital, Martin Ventures, and SeedToB Capital, a new healthcare artificial intelligence (AI) venture fund launched by former Jvion Co-founders Shantanu Nigam and Ritesh Sharma.

OncoLens brings collaborative and personalized treatment planning to the cancer patient through data integration and decision support. It helps cancer programs and their multidisciplinary teams of specialists collaborate effectively while easily aggregating patient-specific data in a HIPAA-compliant manner across different EMR/clinical/genetics information systems. Patient-specific clinical trials at a facility or its affiliates, NCCN/ASCO guidelines, and the latest research are also automatically identified for each case to support the care team in making the best decision for the patient.

“The new investment round will enable us to further capitalize on our position as a leader in the tumor board and cancer treatment planning software industry,” said Anju Mathew, CEO of OncoLens. “We’re excited to continue our work with BIP Capital and our new investors Martin Ventures and SeedToB Capital. Their combined deep expertise in healthcare and AI will help catalyze both our product development and market expansion efforts.”

OncoLens is being used or implemented across several National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers and some of the largest U.S. healthcare delivery networks. The company has received significant market recognition, with studies showcased in the Association of Community Cancer Centers’ Oncology Journal, Journal of Registry Management, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and others.

“We were an early investor in OncoLens and we’re proud of its rapid growth and commitment to improving healthcare through technology,” said Mark Buffington, co-founder and CEO of BIP Capital and lead investor of its growing portfolio of Healthcare IT investments. “We’re confident OncoLens will increasingly become part of the new norm in terms of how care providers collaborate efficiently and effectively with one another.”

“OncoLens is enabling better outcomes for cancer patients,” said Devin Carty, CEO of Martin Ventures. “The need for new, cutting-edge technologies has never been more important to ultimately winning the fight against cancer. We are excited to partner with Anju and the rest of the OncoLens team to extend and expand clinical trials, precision medicine, and multidisciplinary care to cancer patients.”

“Tumor boards and care collaboration are within a space needing much innovation,” said Shantanu Nigam, managing partner of SeedToB Capital. “OncoLens is stepping up and leading this charge with a very innovative approach under stellar leadership. We’re extremely excited to welcome OncoLens to our portfolio.”

The funding announcement comes during a week when many healthcare investors and innovators are attending the 39th Annual J.P. Morgan Health Care Conference virtually (social media hashtag #JPM21). A focal area of the event is telemedicine and virtual collaboration tools to help healthcare providers better meet the needs of patients in a mobile and digitally connected world.
In 2020, OncoLens was named among the top 10 most innovative companies by the Technology Association of Georgia. OncoLens currently serves more than 8,000 cancer care providers across the country.

About BIP Capital

BIP Capital is recognized as one of the most active venture investors in the Southeast, serving entrepreneurs, investors, and operators to grow the emerging company ecosystem. It applies experience and process to make investment decisions and operational recommendations, allowing its portfolio companies to achieve and stay on a glide path of growth. Areas of focus include Enterprise SaaS, Healthcare IT, Digital Media, Dev Tools, and MarTech. For more information, visit www.bip-capital.com or follow BIP Capital on LinkedIn or Twitter @BIPCapital.

About Martin Ventures

Martin Ventures is a healthcare-focused venture capital firm based in Nashville, Tennessee. Martin Ventures was founded by healthcare operator, investor, and entrepreneur Charlie Martin. Martin Ventures focuses on both building and launching de novo companies and investing time, energy, and capital into world-class entrepreneurs’ leading growth-stage companies. For more information, visit www.martinventures.com.

About SeedToB Capital

SeedToB Capital primarily focuses on artificial intelligence initiatives within healthcare. Most applications of AI in healthcare have results in pilot settings, but fail to scale successfully despite huge investments. SeedToB’s unique approach is to help entrepreneurs navigate this complex space toward the most efficient path to Series B and ultimately, company success. It is led by Ritesh Sharma and Shantanu Nigam, serial entrepreneurs who founded Jvion and quickly grew it to be the nation’s largest clinical AI company.

About OncoLens

OncoLens is a care treatment planning platform designed to help cancer programs collaborate effectively with multidisciplinary teams across their care networks and within the affiliates and communities they serve. Our solutions include virtual tumor board technology, workflow automation, survivorship care planning, and clinical decision support capabilities that lead to increased standardization across the network, higher quality of care, enhanced engagement with affiliates, and reduced costs through greater efficiencies. For more information on OncoLens, please visit www.oncolens.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Media Contact:
Kathy Berardi
Carabiner Communications
kberardi@carabinercomms.com
678.644.4122

SOURCE OncoLens
Related Links
http://www.oncolens.com

Great Lakes Health System of WNY

Best Practices: Building the Future of Multidisciplinary Cancer Care

GREAT LAKES HEALTH SYSTEM EMPOWERS RESIDENTS AND GRADUATE STUDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO WITH A FIRST-HAND LOOK AT COLLABORATIVE CANCER CARE OF THE FUTURE

Tumor Boards were a part of life for those at Great Lakes Health System, which included six hospitals, multiple care sites and the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. However, physician participation was often low due to the distance physicians and specialists had to travel to participate in person. The remote connection tools being used were wrought with technical challenges. Graduate students and residents also struggled to participate due to their hectic class and study schedules.

The process of preparing for and conducting tumor board conferences was extremely time-consuming and cumbersome, which ultimately limited the health system’s ability to expand their tumor board conferences and limited the patient’s opportunity to benefit from multidisciplinary discussions of their cases. Michele Hubert-Fiscus, Cancer Conference Director at Great Lakes Health System, described the entire process as a nightmare.

“We had to collect images, reports, documents and other information from all of the different groups. Then, we had to pull together a PowerPoint presentation, making sure it was well-organized and that we didn’t put too much information on one screen so everyone could easily see it,” said Hubert-Fiscus. “With our previous tools, each participant would struggle to share their screen when it came time for them to speak. The permission-based hand-off for screen sharing was disruptive and wasted valuable physician time.”

PROFILE AT-A-GLANCE

Great Lakes Health System is the largest healthcare network in Western New York, managing Erie County Medical Center Corporation and five Kaleida Health Hospitals, multiple medical centers and home care service providers, and the University at Buffalo’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences world-renowned research capabilities. The team holds 14+ tumor boards per month with an average of 20 participants per conference.

When the health system decided to increase the frequency and number of its tumor board conferences to create more opportunities for patients to benefit from collaborative care, the administrative team turned to OncoLens, which has been running successfully at one of their hospitals in Buffalo.

Hubert-Fiscus and her team initially started using the treatment planning platform to reduce the amount of time and manual effort associated with preparing for the tumor boards. All the information needed on each case could be placed in one central, online location. The system told everyone exactly what information was required and when. As the system is web-based, any authorized person can access and post information from anywhere, at any time.

THE IMPACT OF COVID

When the COVID-19 crisis hit in March of 2020, it seemed as though all their progress in managing tumor boards would be stopped in its tracks. The quarantine and social distancing rules could have deterred physicians from getting together in person. When OncoLens offered no cost usage of its virtual tumor board capabilities to aid care teams during the pandemic, Hubert-Fiscus knew it was the right time to give it a try.

“I was nervous. I wasn’t sure we were going to keep our tumor boards going through the lockdown. When we received the notification from OncoLens about their offer to try their virtual tumor board technology, we signed up right away. I had training for one week, and the following week we went live. We were able to get 40 providers along with our pathology and radiology team up and running. We ended up not missing any of our tumor boards due to COVID, and we haven’t missed one since,” added Hubert-Fiscus.

When asked how she made it happen so quickly, she said, “For me, it came down to both the software being so easy to use and the customer support team being so great. The OncoLens team has been amazing every step of the way. They even joined our tumor boards just in case we needed any technical assistance. We requested a few changes, and they quickly made the adjustments. The support has been phenomenal.”

THE EVIDENCE OF SUCCESS: GROWING PARTICIPATION IN TUMOR BOARDS

Going virtual has opened the Great Lakes Cancer Care Collaborative tumor board conference to more physicians and specialists. “We have definitely seen an increase in the number and type of providers attending our tumor boards since going live with the OncoLens virtual tumor board. The convenience of participating from anywhere at any time makes it all possible. We’ve even been able to include our residents and medical students from the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, which is part of the Great Lakes Health System,” said Hubert-Fiscus.

HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE FOR MEDICAL SCHOOL RESIDENTS

OncoLens gives the residents and graduate students a powerful, hands-on learning experience. “It’s extremely valuable for the residents and students to see care collaboration in action and be an active participant. They see first-hand how robust discussions among multiple disciplines can positively impact the care treatment plan. Plus, we are able to give them CME credits for their participation.”

“I would give OncoLens nothing but accolades all the way around – both the software and the support.” – Michele Hubert-Fiscus, Cancer Conference Director

In their OBGYN tumor boards, the residents are the ones who actually present the cases. The attending physician challenges them with questions, which really makes them think. The templates in the system help them follow along with the necessary guidelines, and it is a positive experience for everyone.

“The OncoLens platform has allowed us to bring so many more people, including graduate students and residents, together to have really robust discussions about patients.” – Michele Hubert-Fiscus, Cancer Conference Director

Overall, Hubert-Fiscus believes that the OncoLens platform has also enabled the team to have more timely and productive tumor board conferences. She commented, “Being able to have everything organized and easy to reference by plugging certain information in the drop boxes helps make the most of our time together. Even the relevant clinical trials are pulled up and presented in the system, so we don’t have to go digging in a different website. The cancer-specific templates provided in the system help us efficiently and consistently walk through the necessary guidelines.”

A POSITIVE RESPONSE FROM THE TEAM

Since going live with the virtual tumor board technology, conference coordinators are not the only ones happy to have OncoLens on their team. Hubert-Fiscus shared a story of a radiologist who said he might never need to be in person at a tumor board conference again. The real advantage comes in radiology’s ability to present directly from their own office and drive their imaging system live, instead of having to use static images in a PowerPoint. For pathologists, the slide images are of much higher quality, and the level of detail the participants can see is far superior.

NO GOING BACK NOW

When asked what the future holds and if the team intends to go back to its traditional ways, Hubert-Fiscus stated, “The good news is that Oncolens gives us the flexibility to do whatever we want. We can have some participants in the room and some online – but everyone can still see the same information at the same time and have productive discussions about the patient, no matter where they are.”

For Hubert-Fiscus, she says she has no intention of going backward. “I can’t imagine having to go back to the way things used to be. The system is so convenient, and it’s great to have everything so organized. As we go through our discussions, I don’t even have to think about missing information, because the system requires me to enter everything we need. It reminds me to enter certain information with the mandated fields, so nothing is missed.” This, in turn, supports the Health System’s aggressive goals for quality care.

Whatever the future holds as a result of COVID, Hubert-Fiscus is not worried. She said, “For me, the support we receive from the OncoLens organization is exceptional. I’ve never worried about anything because I always know that I have someone right there with me, helping us grow our platform and capabilities for the greater good of our organization and our patients.”

Karmanos Cancer Institute to Implement OncoLens Multidisciplinary Cancer Treatment Planning Software Solution

Greater collaboration on a secure digital platform across 16 locations will improve continuum of care for patients

Detroit, MI and Atlanta, GA – Karmanos Cancer Institute is pleased to announce that it will begin using the OncoLens cancer treatment planning software platform to hold tumor boards and multidisciplinary case discussions. Implementing OncoLens will make it easier for providers to participate in multidisciplinary team discussions through a streamlined and accessible platform where members can review patient cases in real-time and asynchronously. Using this secure platform allows for the consolidation of clinical trial information, electronic medical records (EMR), images, lab results and other information into one environment. Follow up action items are recorded and can be managed through the platform.

Tumor boards are critical to Karmanos’ multidisciplinary approach. These treatment planning sessions allow specialty providers from many disciplines to discuss and plan treatment for patients. Participants include oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, surgeons, pharmacists, specialized nurse practitioners, dietitians, social workers and genetic counselors. By holding tumor board meetings, Karmanos offers access to a team of experts without requiring patients to see multiple specialists. Rather, patient cases are discussed in one setting, where each specialist can weigh in, providing the best possible expertise and patient treatment. With 16 locations in the Karmanos network, accessible collaboration is imperative.

Before the implementation of OncoLens, Karmanos held tumor boards in person or via conference call. While this allowed for effective communication, the use of OncoLens will enhance the process and efficiency by integrating EMR and other data to be shared seamlessly in real-time for all to review. Additionally, whether held online or in-person, tumor boards have previously required that all providers attend simultaneously. With the implementation of OncoLens, specialists can offer comments and feedback asynchronously and engage with other team members before or after the meeting.

The OncoLens platform provides clinical decision support to automatically match patients with potential clinical trials that are pulled from the study information portal, based on the specific cancer type and tumor characteristics.

The OncoLens platform enables system-wide treatment planning and standardization of care across a network that is consistent with evidence-based and customized care pathways. It allows peer-to-peer collaboration and instant reporting to provide perspective into testing and treatment recommendations, adherence to quality metrics and improvement opportunities.

“We have learned a great deal about the value and ease that can be facilitated by digital communication platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before this, Karmanos sought to remove communication barriers between our providers to offer the best cancer care possible to our patients. Thanks to the specialized offerings provided by OncoLens, multidisciplinary teams throughout the entire Karmanos system will be able to collaborate seamlessly and share information, whether they are stepping out of surgery, sitting at a desk or commuting to the clinic,” said Justin Klamerus, M.D., M.M.M., President of the Karmanos Cancer Hospital & Network.

“With OncoLens and Karmanos working together, we will drive increased care coordination among multi-specialty providers in the network and community, leading to better patient care and increased referrals. Each cancer patient’s case will be visualized by their care team and expert physicians at Karmanos, with the relevant clinical, imaging, genomic and other data, irrespective of location or busy schedules and tracked to Karmanos’ high-quality standards. We are excited to work with a partner like Karmanos that shares our mission to bring the best possible care to the patient,” said Anju Mathew, CEO and Co-Founder, OncoLens.

Since its founding, OncoLens has offered a platform that can easily aggregate patient-specific data in a HIPAA-compliant manner across different EMR/clinical/genetics information systems. In addition, patient-specific clinical trials at a facility or its affiliates, NCCN/ASCO guidelines and the latest research are automatically identified for each case to support the care team in making the best decision for the patient. For large healthcare networks and institutions like Karmanos, OncoLens provides an inter-connectivity tool that breaks down the silos of healthcare delivery.

OncoLens serves more than 8,000 cancer care providers across the country today, including those from NCI designated cancer centers, academic institutions, integrated delivery networks (IDN) and community cancer centers.

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About OncoLens

OncoLens is a care treatment planning platform designed specifically to help cancer programs collaborate effectively with multidisciplinary teams across their care networks and within the affiliates and communities they serve. Our solutions include virtual tumor board technology, workflow automation, survivorship care planning, and clinical decision support capabilities that ultimately lead to increased standardization across the network, higher quality of care, enhanced engagement with affiliates, increased referrals, and reduced costs through greater efficiencies. For more information on OncoLens, please visit www.oncolens.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

About The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
Karmanos Cancer Institute is a leader in transformative cancer care, research and education through courage, commitment, and compassion. Our vision is a world free of cancer. As part of McLaren Health Care, Karmanos is the largest provider of cancer care and research in the state of Michigan. For more than 75 years, our administrative and research headquarters, along with our premier specialty cancer hospital, have been located in downtown Detroit. Our 15 network sites throughout the state deliver market-leading cancer care and clinical trials conveniently to the communities where many of our patients live. Karmanos is recognized by the National Cancer Institute as one of the best cancer centers in the nation. Our academic partnership with the Wayne State University School of Medicine provides the framework for cancer research and education – defining new standards of care and improving survivorship. For more information, call 1-800-KARMANOS (800-527-6266) or visit www.karmanos.org. Follow Karmanos on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Ascension Lourdes

Best Practices: Engaging Primary Care Physicians and Specialists in Multidisciplinary Opinions and Tumor Board Conferences

ASCENSION LOURDES EXPANDS TUMOR BOARD PARTICIPATION TO GET MORE COMPLETE VIEW OF PATIENTS WHILE ALSO DRIVING MORE REFERRALS

Primary care physicians (PCPs) have a unique view into patients, typically having deep knowledge of the patient’s health history for many years prior to the onset of cancer. The cancer team at Ascension Lourdes Regional Cancer Center wanted to access that knowledge along with insights from other specialists when discussing the patient’s case in their tumor board conferences, believing that a more holistic view of the patient would ultimately lead to better outcomes for their patients they serve.

ENGAGING THE COMPLETE TEAM

As a part of one of the largest health systems in the country, Lourdes prides itself on delivering the highest quality cancer care, and as a result is constantly seeking ways to make their “best practices better.”

One of the hallmarks of the Lourdes center is its five different, highly collaborative tumor board conferences that bring together multi- disciplinary specialists and PCPs on a regular basis to discuss complex cancer cases.

According to Stacie Hansen, Service Line Leader of Oncology at Lourdes, “Being able to easily invite and engage with virtually any physician or specialist in our tumor board conferences with the OncoLens platform has been a game changer for us. Before OncoLens, we struggled to get engagement from PCPs mainly because of their busy schedules. Having to get out of the office and drive to the hospital to sit in an hour- long meeting was not practical and, in some cases, not possible. By giving them the ability to simply log in and share their insights from their office or home has dramatically improved their ability to participate in their patient’s care journey. It has also improved our ability to provide the right treatment plans for our patients.”

Cindy Smith, Tumor Registry Support, echoed Hansen’s comments, “We really value the insights the PCPs bring to our tumor board conferences. They have a perspective that we do not because we are seeing the patient in this moment in time. Typically, the PCPs have long-term relationships with the patient and can give us a more complete picture of the patient.”

Prior to OncoLens, Lourdes used a call-in number for PCPs and other specialists, which was cumbersome. It was difficult to navigate and made it challenging for everyone to hear the conversations and see the patient case information that was being presented. Understandably, the team had low participation.

Now, many providers can securely attend the Lourdes tumor board meetings, whether in person or remotely. OncoLens enables remote multi-disciplinary decision making and treatment planning through standardized asynchronous or real-time tumor board discussions.

According to Wendy Brennan, Patient Nurse Navigator for Lourdes Breast Center, “With OncoLens, we can invite additional participants who normally do not attend, such as lymphoedema specialists, speech pathologists, pain and wellness, as well as palliative medicine.” Brennan also commented on how the platform allows them to easily engage with other care providers who may be necessary to carry out the treatment plans. For example, Lourdes does not do pulmonary surgery, so the team was able to engage a surgeon at a neighboring hospital so the surgeon could be part of the patient discussion and then seamlessly treat the patient.

The process of inviting PCPs and specialists into tumor board conferences has been streamlined with the use of OncoLens as well. The invitation letters contain a valuable OncoLens Quick Start Guide with clear instructions on how to attend tumor board meetings from anywhere. The detailed letter specifies the meeting date, time, patient name, primary site to be discussed, OncoLens login information and a statement summarizing the importance of Ascension Lourdes’ CoC Accreditation.

Emily Post, RN, Nurse Navigator, Ascension Lourdes said, “At our most recent tumor board, our cardiothoracic surgeon attended. The pulmonologist, who hasn’t routinely participated in the past due to his significant commute, is now on board too. When he heard about OncoLens and that he could attend from home, his eyes lit right up! Overall, we have seen a lot more physician buy-in.”

SURPRISE BENEFITS OF GOING VIRTUAL

One of the unexpected benefits of having a way to easily engage PCPs and other specialists in their cancer care treatment planning was the increase in referrals the organization experienced. “By being able to invite and easily connect virtually with the patient’s primary care physician, we are building stronger relationships with the PCPs in our community. We’ve found that many PCPs feel more connected to us than ever before, so our patients are not the only ones who benefit from their engagement in the tumor board conferences,” added Hansen.

Moving from in-person board conferences to virtual tumor board sessions has generated new efficiencies that are delivering some surprise benefits to the organization. Hansen and her team used to spend multiple days per week preparing for weekly Friday morning tumor board meetings.

“Overall, we have seen a lot more physician buy-in.”
– Emily Post, RN Nurse Navigator, Ascension Lourdes

Several documents and sources of patient information had to be tracked down and available for reference during the conference. Copies were made for each care team member and conference space was reserved since it was required for all core physicians to be in the same room for every meeting. After much of the work week was used to prepare, the management of the tumor board was equally manual – from tracking accreditations and distributing physician recommendations to documenting discussions of clinical trials and supportive care.

The time-savings impact of using OncoLens was immediate – the team experienced a 90% reduction in preparation time for their next tumor board. All cancer patient information, including pathology reports and radiology images, was now accessible in one location. “OncoLens helps put the pieces of the puzzle together for me,” said Post. “I know what the next steps are for the patient because I’ve heard the care team collaborate and can view the patient data in one place.”

A BRIGHT FUTURE

The Ascension Lourdes Regional Cancer Center plays a vital role in serving communities surrounding Binghamton, NY, and its multidisciplinary approach to treatment planning plays an important role in its long track record of success.

Partnering with OncoLens is enabling the Lourdes team to climb even higher. Not only has the software platform allowed the team to engage specialists and PCPs in the care planning, but the OncoLens service team has been second to none.

According to Smith, “I can’t say enough about the high level of customer support we are receiving from the OncoLens team. They are very responsive to any question we have and have really held our hand throughout the process of transitioning to their platform and engaging other care providers.”

According to Hansen, “We are excited to see how this digital technology positively impacts the number of cases that are presented and the number of physicians who participate. Our assumption is that both numbers will continue to grow. OncoLens is a great way to bring a team of busy specialists together to collaborate on the best treatment plan we can offer our patients.”

The patient is the real winner with OncoLens. Being able to have a full care team of specialists and care providers discussing a patient and all being on the same page results in better outcomes and a better care experience for the patient.”
– Cindy Smith, Tumor Registry Support, Ascension Lourdes

OncLive

Breast Cancer Surgical Space Adapts in Response to COVID-19 Crisis, Prepares for Lockdowns to Lift

Eric Brown, MD, FACS, discusses how breast oncologists and surgeons have adapted to overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19 and continue to deliver the best care to patients as the United States begins to re-open.

As states begin to reopen amid the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s important to consider how to continue to deliver the best care possible for patients with cancer, according to Eric Brown, MD, FACS, especially as operating rooms (ORs) begin accepting patients for essential surgeries of varying priority while preparing for the outbreak’s inevitable second wave of cases.

As of May 2020, Brown, Breast Program Lead in Comprehensive Breast Care, a division of Michigan Healthcare Professionals shared that he and his colleagues are once again performing breast cancer surgeries. However, nonessential or elective procedures, such as breast augmentations, are still not being performed yet.

For those patients with breast cancer who do come in for procedures, strict measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of staff and patients alike. While other hospitals have implemented COVID-19 screenings within 48 hours of a procedure, Brown’s hospital is responding by handling each patient as though they have already tested positive for the virus. To this end, personnel are required to always wear N95 face masks, entrance has been restricted during intubation and extubation, and, perhaps most significantly, family members and companions who would normally be allowed in the pre-operative area and recovery rooms are now being asked to wait at home until contacted by a doctor or nurse.

Determining which patients should receive priority for surgery is also being considered differently than it has been previously. “Many patients, especially with hormone-positive cancers, have been placed on anti-estrogen therapy in the neoadjuvant setting prior to doing any surgery, and those patients will generally have less aggressive types of cancers. As such, in terms of prioritizing, those patients were given at least the option of delaying their surgery a little bit,” said Brown.

Additionally, patients with HER2-positive or triple-negative disease who have finished their neoadjuvant chemotherapy are most likely to be considered top priority with regard to surgery, added Brown.

In an interview with OncLive, Brown discusses how breast oncologists and surgeons have adapted to overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19 and continue to deliver the best care to patients as the United States begins to re-open.

OncLive: How would you describe the COVID-19 situation in Michigan?

Brown: In Michigan, especially southeastern Michigan, we got hit very hard and many of the hospitals were actually above capacity. Many patients from hospital A would actually have to be transferred to hospital B because there just weren’t enough ventilators and support available for them. Fortunately, we’re over that. Our ORs are now open to [perform] essential surgeries. We’re not quite open to nonessential surgeries. In my world, we’re doing breast cancer surgeries, but nobody would come in for, say, a breast augmentation just yet. We have ventilators [not being used by] patients in the hospital now, so hopefully we are on the downside of this tragedy and crisis in Michigan, at least for now.

What are some of the precautionary measures that have been implemented at your institution to protect patients who come in for treatment?

It goes back to having not only capacity from a staffing perspective, but [also] equipment and testing. What we would like, and what some of the societies across the country have recommended, is that all patients who come in for elective surgery be tested [for the virus] within 48 hours. Our hospital doesn’t quite have the capacity to do that yet. To this end, we’re basically treating every patient as though they are positive [for the virus]. In other words, N95 masks are being worn by all the staff; people are out of the room during intubation and extubation; and no families are allowed into the pre-operating area or the recovery room. In fact, what is new is that we’re actually allowing families and companions to wait at home.

This is nothing like we would do prior to the COVID crisis; there had to always be somebody at the hospital. However, I just finished a case and called the husband who was waiting at home, and then the recovery room nurse will call when we’re about ready to discharge. So, that’s all new. Treating patients as though they were positive is probably the smart thing to do, even if you can do testing within 48 hours of procedure.

How are you personally prioritizing patients for pauses in treatment versus delaying surgery in breast cancer?

That has been a big challenge for us and certainly a responsibility that we’ve never really faced before as breast surgical oncologists. Once the doors open again [we have] to decide who can have their surgery and who needs to wait. Oddly enough, I’ve had several patients who were actually a little nervous about [not] coming back to the hospital. As we explained to them when we chose this neoadjuvant approach, that it was safe, we found that they were comfortable sticking with it a little while longer.

Some of the patients who have finished their neoadjuvant chemotherapy during this time are really some of our top priority patients to get into the OR. We don’t really have a lot of data that says you can wait X number of weeks to do their surgery. We typically wait 3-4 weeks post-chemotherapy, so that their blood counts can come back up to normal. However, waiting 6, 8, up to 12 weeks, is a little unnerving. With some of our patients with HER2-positive disease who [reached] the end of their chemotherapy mid-crises, many of our medical oncologists have kept them on HER2-targeted therapy only to bridge this timeframe. Those would be our top priority because we don’t traditionally do that; it’s kind of a little bit more outside of the box. We want to get them in first.

Then, the patients with triple-negative disease who had finished their chemotherapy are also our top priority in terms of getting them into the OR. From there, we look at general clinical features of tumors, gage of tumors that are estrogen-sensitive in patients who have been on neoadjuvant endocrine therapy. Fortunately, the hospital is not allowing many of the surgeries to be done outside of the cancer specialty. As such, we have a lot of times in the OR available for us. [Our institution has also arranged for] the ORs to be open a little longer, so we don’t really have a backlog that [would suggest that] prioritizing is going to be a major issue — waiting a week versus waiting another 3 weeks is about the gist of what that delay is going to look like.

Several institutions and organizations have been releasing guidance to help inform the field during such a challenging time. Are you utilizing any specific resources to inform treatment modifications for your patients or are you basing your decisions on personal experience and the data that are available?

Essentially, [everyone is] kind of winging it. What we’ve done in our group is, we’ve followed the recommendations that have been put out by the American Society of Breast Surgeons and they did that in tandem with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. To be honest with you, hospitals, as an entity, they don’t really know. Administrators don’t really know. They really rely on the doctors to do that and to find a way to prioritize, in terms of getting surgeries back in the OR. In terms of the treatment that we’ve done along the way, we’ve continued to meet weekly with our multidisciplinary tumor board—we do that virtually. That’s been extraordinarily helpful to keep things going in terms of that multidisciplinary input.

When we choose a neoadjuvant endocrine approach, whether we get genomics on those patients or not, that’s kind of a collaborative discussion amongst our tumor board group. Getting those patients back into surgery becomes more of a surgeon medical oncologist decision based on who [we] deem to have more of an urgent need versus not. The hospital, per se, at least in my experience, has not really gotten involved; they also haven’t gotten in the way either. In Michigan, we did have a time where I had a whole month where I wasn’t doing any surgery; that’s because we weren’t doing any elective or non–life-threatening surgery where someone might die within a day if they don’t undergo the procedure. Most residing in areas with a high volume of COVID-19 have followed that same [approach].

There wasn’t great guidance nationally getting into this and there really hasn’t been that great guidance coming out of it. However, as a general rule, physicians have done a pretty good job of organizing themselves, communicating amongst each other, and really collaborating with the hospitals.

What are some of the personal and even institutional challenges that you find yourself facing recently in light of the pandemic?

The personal challenge is from a breast surgical oncologist perspective. I haven’t been in the intensive care unit in—I can’t remember the last time. I haven’t managed a ventilator in—I can’t even remember the last time. In the midst of this, it really was [difficult] from an emotional standpoint because you felt kind of useless. We’re in a big institution where we have many doctors who volunteered and had experience that they brought to the table. Taking temperatures was basically the only thing we could do, so we kind of felt on the sidelines there, and that’s hard. Most of us have this innate sense of wanting to help and this is the doctor’s [version of] 9/11, if you will; [we] really [wanted to] step up and there wasn’t a lot that we could do. As such, we focused on taking the right care of patients as being our contribution to that [battle]. Personally, I can’t speak for anyone else, but that was a little difficult to grapple with at first. We feel now, that it’s our time to shine, to get people back into the OR, prioritize appropriately, and hopefully, put this behind us.

Speaking more about the toll caused by this crisis, could you speak to the emotional ramifications of the pandemic on providers and patients?

Well, patients, clearly, are scared. Their feeling is that they’ve had bad luck getting diagnosed, and then they get diagnosed at a time when everything is up in the air. Our approach, when we’ve consulted with patients, was to be really honest and say, “We’ve never done this before.” We’ve never had a time that we couldn’t operate, and we had to worry about chemotherapy during a time when infection was even more worrisome then it has been traditionally. On top of which, you want to be healthy, you want to exercise, and you want to eat well. However, you can’t go to the gym, going to the grocery store is a challenge because everybody has got to gear up for that, and, on top of everything, you can’t turn the news on any channel without getting some comment on this. Anyone who checks their email are getting recommendations and suggestions from everywhere. [Messages are] not just [coming from] medical societies, but Target and Meijer gas stations, [are saying] what they are doing about COVID-19.

It’s like you can’t get away from it, so you kind of get exhausted just from that alone. Then, there’s the physicians. We struggle because we don’t want to compromise care. In my world, these women with breast cancer, and some men, are going to have their breast cancer beyond this. We don’t want to lose sight of the fact that we do have a crisis on our hands, but we don’t want to jump too far outside the box. It’s a daily struggle. Then, of course, all of us have families, and if you’re older and you have kids in other parts of the country, you worry about all of them, so this takes its toll on everyone. On the frontlines, as cancers go, you deal with high-level stress every day and you don’t have all the answers now so that’s more stressful for the patients and more stressful for the doctors.

[We] pretty quickly got up and running on a platform called OncoLens, which is a platform for putting together virtual meetings. It was made by an oncologist, so a lot of thought went into this. It was around and being developed prior to [the pandemic] and it really allowed us to collaborate amongst all the doctors.

Looking forward to when people start going back to work or to school, and things start to open back up. Are any conversations happening at your institution or even between you and your colleagues regarding what this might look like? How are you strategizing for this?

We have talked a lot about it, and we’re obviously going to be more prepared the next time, as you would be with any tragedy or crisis. One of the things that our group has talked about is to create a COVID-19–free outpatient center. [We would] have much more strict guidelines to work there and for patients to have procedures done there. Hopefully, it won’t be as bad as this first time through, but maybe then we won’t have to delay surgeries on patients with cancer. In the context of that, maybe not doing elective breast augmentations, but even the symptomatic hernia that the general surgeons are dealing with.

Rather than having to wait and hope, if it’s someone you normally would have operated on sooner rather than later, this might provide them with an opportunity and a place to do that; that’s safer. Obviously, we’ll have more testing available, a [quicker] turnaround, the antibody testing, the ventilators shouldn’t be a problem because everybody is making them now. We should really be ahead of this time, but every time will pose new challenges and things you didn’t think about from the last time, I’m sure.

But again, one of the things we talked about was trying to create this, for lack of a better way to put it, COVID-19–free space that’s outside of the hospital in an outpatient area where some of these patients that we would really rather operate [on] sooner rather than later can get their procedures done.

What is your advice to your colleagues who are trying to navigate all of these challenges?

Cancer, in general, is a multidisciplinary [field]. Anyone, [whether you specialize in cancer of the] breast, colon, what ever, you have to collaborate and talk with your colleagues. Keeping those lines of communication open is certainly key. [We] pretty quickly got up and running on a platform called OncoLens, which is a platform for putting together virtual meetings. It was made by an oncologist, so a lot of thought went into this. It was around and being developed prior to [the pandemic] and it really allowed us to collaborate amongst all the doctors. We could view images, we could view reports, it was an easy way to collaborate and continue doing our multidisciplinary tumor boards on a weekly basis like we had done. The platform really is very robust; its [creators] thought of everything. We’ve actually found that since we’ve started doing the tumor boards virtually, our attendance is higher because people can just be in their office, log in for an hour, and they don’t have to drive to anywhere.

We have typically over 20 people, including plastic surgeons, who are listening in and commenting in the multidisciplinary tumor board and there are other avenues to that. We have collaborated with OncoLens and they were great at getting us up and running very quickly; it has been very seamless and very, very robust. It’s just like nothing has changed except for the fact that we have many more people involved. [In terms] of what others can do, is that patients deserve that multidisciplinary care and the more you can keep that [care] constant, the better. Then, it’s not all falling on 1 person to decide how to navigate the crisis; you’re still working as a team and getting input from everybody. Most people in oncology learn something new with every tumor board they attend; it that allows that to just continue.

OncoLens Webinar Series: Learn How to Recoup Lost Revenue for Your Cancer Center

In March, the cancer care world changed dramatically. Most cancer centers have lost significant revenue, operate with less staff and have adopted virtual conferences to adhere to social distancing guidelines. All are now faced with an unprecedented backlog of patients that have not been diagnosed or are un/undertreated.

We invite you to learn how OncoLens can help you do more with less and bolster your response to the challenges posed by COVID-19. Please join us for a live webinar discussion and demonstration of the OncoLens Virtual Tumor Board.

Webinar Takeaways

  • Flexibility to meet both in-person and remotely
  • Easily share crisp pathology and radiology images
  • Securely engage referring providers to drive referrals and improve patient care
  • Improve Clinical Trials accrual through automated clinical decision support
  • Clearly track and report on CMEs and accreditations

Join us for a LIVE demo of the OncoLens Virtual Tumor Board:

  • Thursday, July 9, 11-11:30am EST
  • Tuesday, July 21, 1-1:30pm EST

Click here to register.

How to Use Telehealth in Cancer Care During the Coronavirus Pandemic And Beyond

For cancer patients, telemedicine is appropriate for many consultations and follow-up visits.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Initial consultations are appropriate via telehealth when cancer patients have nonpalpable findings such as an abnormal mammogram, a breast cancer specialist says.
  • In cancer care, best practices for virtual visits include sticking to the pattern of an in-person visit, the specialist says.
  • Telemedicine is well-suited for tumor boards—multidisciplinary meetings held regularly to review cancer cases.

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed multiple opportunities to use telehealth in cancer care, a breast cancer specialist says.

Telemedicine provides physician practices with a safe method to interact with patients remotely during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Telemedicine also enables physician practices to expand services for patient care such as virtual patient check-in capabilities and remote patient monitoring that collects biometric data.

“We feel it is not safe for patients to come directly to our office, or even to a hospital. In our clinic, we have set up multiple times during the day when we are doing telehealth consultations or follow-up visits. There are a select number of patients who fall very nicely into the category of being able to have their consultation done virtually,” says Eric Brown, MD, breast program director at Michigan Healthcare Professionals in Farmington Hills, Michigan.


The telehealth visits are appropriate for cancer patients who have nonpalpable findings such as an abnormal mammogram, he says. “So, if you did not feel a lump and just had a screening mammogram and ended up getting diagnosed with breast cancer, those patients are appropriate to have their initial consultation done virtually.”

Follow-up visits for cancer patients are well-suited to telehealth, Brown says. “Most of our telehealth visits have been follow-up visits: a check-in to see how things are going or a post-operative visit if the patient has no wound-specific issues. Some of our high-risk patient follow-ups have been done via telehealth.”

All patients who have had virtual consultations also have had office visits, he says. “We did make arrangements for an in-person visit as well because that is an important component of what we do. Given the scenario, we were not able to do a physical exam on patients unless we had them come to the office.”

VIRTUAL VISIT BEST PRACTICES

Brown, who has been practicing for 27 years, says conducting consultations over the phone or via a video chat can be challenging. For example, if there is a loved one with the patient off camera, it can be difficult to “read the room,” he says.

Engaging patients also can be problematic. “A lot of patients don’t know where to look when they are on a video chat, so you are often not looking straight on to them,” Brown says.

The key to telehealth visit success is adapting in-person skills to the virtual environment, he says.

“When it is a cancer consultation, you have to continue to provide the breadth of information that you would have if the patient was seen in the office. It was difficult at first to find my mojo; because when you do consultations in the office, you develop a pattern. You can see whether patients are understanding and engage them in the conversation. … By and large, you stick to the pattern, review the things you want to review, and engage patients in that way.”

VIRTUAL TUMOR BOARD MEETINGS

Brown says telehealth has been particularly useful in conducting tumor boards—multidisciplinary meetings his practice holds weekly to review cancer cases.

“As a group, we realized that meeting in person was risky for us because people were at risk for possible exposure in their offices and the community, or they had been moved to different positions in the hospital where they were subject to getting coronavirus,” Brown says.

His practice adopted the OncoLens platform for tumor boards. “It has been a huge improvement in attendance. Most importantly, it has allowed us to continue the multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer care that patients deserve,” he says.

“Before, we would never have a plastic surgeon—even though they were invited—because they were operating and would not have time to participate. Now, we have had no fewer than four plastic surgeons on every tumor board. The more physicians that can participate, the better it is for the patients. You get more opinions, and everybody brings something to the table.”

With travel time cut out of tumor board meetings, attendance has doubled, Brown says. “Pre-pandemic, we would typically have eight to 12 people participate in the weekly tumor board. With the virtual platform, we have had no fewer than 20 and as many as 26 people participate.”

The virtual platform has drawn plastic surgeons to the tumor board meetings, he says.

“Before, we would never have a plastic surgeon—even though they were invited—because they were operating and would not have time to participate. Now, we have had no fewer than four plastic surgeons on every tumor board. The more physicians that can participate, the better it is for the patients. You get more opinions, and everybody brings something to the table.”

Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care? editor at HealthLeaders.

MaineGeneral Medical Decreases Tumor Board Conference Prep Time by 90%

Time consuming and cumbersome. That’s how the team at MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care (HACCC) described managing tumor board conferences to review more than 1,000 cases a year.

Barbara Wiggin, Manager, Radiation Oncology and Cancer Registry, HACCC, and her team, knew there had to be a better way than face these frequent challenges:

  • With typically limited direction, physicians emailed registrars a list of patients for conference agendas.
  • Pathologists were unsure which specimens had to be reviewed.
  • It was unclear to radiologists which images were requested.
  • Registrars spent many hours searching for information scattered across multiple systems and locations.

Fortunately, a team member returned from an industry conference with information about a solution – OncoLens.

Everyone was eager to learn more.

Automate the Future

Specifically designed to automate manual processes, OncoLens streamlines workflows associated with tumor board conferences, survivorship care planning and accreditation.

Wiggin estimated the team spent 6-7 hours in preparation for each conference — and they host two conferences per week. “Our initial goal was to reduce the time and resources needed to prepare for tumor board conferences and allow participants to focus more on patients, less on paperwork,” said Wiggin.

Then they implemented the OncoLens SaaS-based platform. It quickly became another important tool to support HACCC’s priorities to meet best practice standards and achieve the highest levels of Commission on Cancer (COC) accreditation possible.

“Today, physicians post their own cases and specify exactly what needs to be reviewed. Preparation time has decreased by more than 90%. Our team provides more value-added services to patients while the entire tumor board experience has improved for the team,” Wiggin said.

Empower Physicians

As with any new platform, team members can be hesitant adjusting to new processes and workflows. However, the HACCC physicians quickly recognized they had more control.

Our physicians like how easy and accessible the information is at the time of a tumor board,” said Marissa Barnett, Specialty Oncology Data Support. “The system notifies each participant exactly what has been requested and is still missing. Having the data collected and digitally available within one location in OncoLens is a game changer for MaineGeneral.

Streamline Accreditation

Prior to implementation, HACCC relied on spreadsheets to track necessary information for accreditation reporting. Barnett and team constantly had to ensure everything was filled out correctly and completely. If a required spreadsheet field was missing, they went back to each of the tumor board notes to locate the information.

“With OncoLens, the accreditation workflow and reporting happen with the click of a button,” said Wiggin. “Since information is collected during the tumor board conference, we are more confident proper steps have been followed and the correct participants are present. In fact, there are smart forms to guide our discussions within OncoLens,” said Wiggin.

Strong Support

The biggest difference the team and Barnett have found with OncoLens is the customer service. “It’s very easy to work with the OncoLens team on all fronts. They are nimble and highly responsive,” said Wiggin.

“For example, we must deliver an end-of-year radiology report. Instead of digging through each case, OncoLens added a check box for surgeons to mark off if a mammogram or breast image must be reviewed. I click a button to pull that report and save hours of tedious work.”

As new team members join, such as Bethany Goodwin, Specialty Oncology Data Support, they are pleasantly surprised how easy it is to learn the tumor board software. “I really enjoy learning about all of the possibilities OncoLens offers. It’s user friendly and keeps everything organized so we can work efficiently,” Goodwin commented.

Connect Facilities

Wiggin and her team have plans to expand OncoLens. To conduct virtual tumor board meetings, they continue to bring additional physicians and pathologists onto the platform, automate more workflows and include additional offsite facilities and smaller hospitals.

“With virtual tumor board meetings in OncoLens, we strive to present more patients sooner, to provide better multi-specialty care. Having all the data, images and documents in one online system, we can support new opportunities to create extreme efficiencies across our facilities,” Wiggin added.

MaineGeneral Medical Center

  • Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care
  • Non-profit health system
  • Augusta, Maine
  • 7,000 cancer patients annually
  • 1,700 new diagnosis annually
  • 1,000+ cases reviewed in tumor boards annually

Benefits for MaineGeneral Medical Center

  • Reduced tumor board prep time more than 90%
  • Improved productivity with data and documents in one place
  • Streamlined accreditation reporting

About OncoLens

OncoLens develops technologies that improve cancer treatment planning, simplify tumor board management, facilitate survivorship care planning and automate accreditation and quality reporting through an intelligent workflow engine. Visit www.oncolens.com to learn how your center can streamline business processes and enable more informed clinical decision-making.

© 2020 OncoLens, Inc.

What Cancer Centers Need to Know about the Changing CoC Accreditation Standards

Areas of biggest impact:

Personnel/Services Resources and Patient Care Expectations

The Commission on Cancer recently released changes to its accreditation standards, a move that is expected to impact accredited facilities in the year 2020. It’s important that every cancer program administrator understands these changes, whether your facility is currently accredited or is considering pursuing accreditation in the next couple of years. As stated on the American College of Surgeons (ACS) webinar yesterday, the purpose of this update was to begin to align all of the ACS Quality Programs to ensure a common experience across the entire spectrum of care.

The OncoLens team of experts has poured over the new standards and put together a high-level comparison of some of the most significant changes that have been made. It is not our intention to provide guidance on how to modify your current operations to meet these guidelines, but to simply make you aware of them.

OncoLens has helped more than 2800 cancer care providers and staff dramatically reduce the amount of time and resources spent on attaining and/or maintaining CoC, NAPBC and NAPRC accreditation every year. We are currently in the process of incorporating these new requirements into our cancer treatment planning solution and many of the newly required data elements will be captured automatically in the OncoLens tumor board and survivorship care planning and reporting modules.

Most OncoLens customers have been able to cut accreditation report preparation time by 90%. Learn more about how OncoLens can help your cancer center adapt to the 2020 CoC accreditation standards by emailing us for more information at info@oncolens.com.

Impactful Changes

Changes across nine domains can be found in the updated CoC accreditation manual. For a detailed view of the changes, cancer center administrators are encouraged to visit the CoC 2020 Standards website. The key changes highlighted by the OncoLens team are listed below and are focused on Domain 4 (Personnel and Services Resources) and Domain 5 (Patient Care: Expectations and Protocols).

A review of some differences between CoC’s 2016 and 2020 standards


2016 1.1 Physician Credentials

All physicians involved in the evaluation and management of cancer patients, as well as those serving in a required physician position on the cancer committee must be one of the following:

• Board certified; or

• In the process of becoming board certified, and

• Demonstrate ongoing cancer-related education by earning 12 cancer-related continuing medical education (CME) hours each calendar year. A maximum of six of the 12 hours can be earned through educational activities offered by the facility; however, all 12 hours can be earned through educational activities that are external to the facility.

2020 4.1 Physician Credentials

Cancer patient management is conducted by a multidisciplinary team, including radiologists, pathologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists. All physicians involved in the evaluation and management of cancer patients must:

• Be American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or American Osteopathic Association (AOA) board certified (or the equivalent), or

• Demonstrate ongoing cancer-related education by earning 12 cancer-related Continuing Medical Education (CME) hours each calendar year


2016 2.2 Oncology Nursing Care

Annual nursing competency evaluation of oncology knowledge and skills is completed and documented according to organizational policy, is approved by the cancer committee, and is documented in the cancer committee minutes. Oncology nursing certification for all nurses providing oncology care is strongly encouraged. All nurses who administer chemotherapy to patients need documented certification of chemotherapy training for both in-patient and out-patient units.

2020 4.2 Oncology Nursing Credentials

All registered nurses and advanced practice nurses providing direct oncology care must demonstrate one of the following:

• Current cancer-specific certification in the nurse’s specialty by an accredited certification program, or

• Ongoing education by earning 36 cancer-related continuing education nursing contact hours each accreditation cycle


2016 1.11 Cancer Registry Education

And

2016 5.1 Cancer Registrar Credentials

Each calendar year, all members of the cancer registry staff participate in one cancer-related educational activity applicable to their role.

Case abstracting is performed by a Certified Tumor Registrar.

2020 4.3 Cancer Registry Staff Credentials

Each calendar year, members of the cancer registry staff who do not hold a CTR credential must demonstrate completion of three hours of cancer-related continuing education applicable to their roles.


2016 2.3 Genetic Counseling and Risk Assessment

Cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, and genetic testing services are provided to patients either on-site or by referral to a qualified genetics professional.

The cancer committee will monitor, evaluate, and make recommendations for improvements, as needed, cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, and genetic testing and/or referrals annually and document in the cancer committee minutes.

2020 4.4 Genetic Counseling and Risk Assessment

While it is expected that programs provide genetics assessment for all relevant cancers on an on-going basis, each calendar year programs must identify a process pursuant to evidence-based national guidelines for genetic assessment for a specific cancer site.

The cancer committee must review and document in the minutes:

• The number of patients identified as needing referrals for the selected cancer site each year, and

• How many patients identified as needing referrals for the selected cancer site received a referral for genetic counseling

It is encouraged, but not required, that programs track whether patients who received referrals ultimately had genetic counseling


2016 2.4 Palliative Care Services

Palliative care services are available to patients either on-site or by referral.

The cancer committee will monitor, evaluate, and make recommendations for improvements, as needed, to palliative care services and/or referrals annually and document in the cancer committee minutes.

2020 4.5 Palliative Care Services

Each calendar year, the cancer committee monitors, evaluates, and makes recommendations for improvements to palliative care services. The evaluation is documented in the cancer committee minutes. During this evaluation, the cancer committee must:

• Assess the approximate number of cancer patients referred for palliative care services and for what services or resources

• Discuss the criteria utilized to trigger referrals to palliative care services

• Discuss areas of improvement – Examples include, but are not limited to, barriers to access of palliative care services, addition of palliative care services, decreasing emergency department usage, or improving the timeliness of referrals.


2016 ER 11 Rehabilitation Services

Policies and procedures are in place to ensure patient access to rehabilitation services either on-site or by referral.

2020 4.6 Rehabilitation Care Services

Each calendar year, the cancer committee must monitor, evaluate, and make recommendations for improvements, as needed, to rehabilitation care services and/or referrals. The content of the review and any recommendations for improvement are documented in the cancer committee minutes.


2016 ER 12 Nutrition Services

Policies and procedures are in place to ensure patient access to nutrition services either on-site or by referral.

2020 4.7 Oncology Nutrition Services

Each calendar year, the cancer committee must monitor, evaluate, and make recommendations for improvements to on-site oncology nutrition and hydration services and/ or referral services. The content of the review and any recommendations for improvement are documented in the cancer committee minutes.


2016 3.3 Survivorship Care Plan

The cancer committee develops and implements a process to disseminate a treatment summary and follow-up plan to patients who have completed cancer treatment.

End of 2018 and on: Provide SCPs to 50 percent of eligible patients who have completed treatment.

2020 4.8 Survivorship Care Plan

The cancer committee appoints a coordinator of the survivorship program per the requirements in Standard 2.1: Cancer Committee.

The Survivorship Program Coordinator develops a survivorship program team. Suggested specialties include physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, physical therapists, and other allied health professionals.

The survivorship program team determines a list of services and programs, offered on-site or by referral, that address the needs of cancer survivors. The team formally documents a minimum of three services offered each year. Services may be continued year to year, but it is expected that cancer programs will strive to enhance existing services over time and develop new services.

Each year, the survivorship program coordinator gives a report, and the cancer committee reviews the activities of the survivorship program. The report includes: • An estimate of the number of cancer patients who participated in the three identified services • Identification of the resources needed to improve the services if barriers were encountered

Programs must demonstrate compliance by 1/1/2021


2016 2.1 College of American Pathologists Protocols and Synoptic Reporting

Each calendar year, 95 percent of the eligible cancer pathology contain all required data elements of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) protocols and are structured using the synoptic reporting format as defined by the CAP Cancer Committee.

For CoC-accredited programs, the CAP protocols apply to the following:

• Pathology reports created by the program from resected specimens with a diagnosis of invasive cancer.

• Pathology reports created by the program from resected specimens with a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Diagnostic biopsy specimens, cytology specimens, special studies, and reports of carcinoma in situ (except for ductal carcinoma in situ) are excluded.

At a minimum, a random sample of 10 percent of pathology reports eligible for the CAP protocols or a maximum of 300 cases are reviewed each year to document compliance with this standard. The cancer committee may delegate the quality control activity to a pathologist who will report the quality control activity and a summary of the findings annually to the cancer committee.

2020 5.1 College of American Pathologists Synoptic Reporting

Ninety percent of the eligible cancer pathology reports are structured using synoptic reporting format as defined by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) cancer protocols, including containing all core data elements within the synoptic format.

For CoC-accredited programs, “eligible cancer pathology reports” are defined as: • Definitive surgical resection of primary invasive malignancies and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), and • Definitive surgical resection in patients who have received neoadjuvant therapy AND who have residual tumor.


2016 3.2 Psychosocial Distress Screening and

2016 ER10 Psychosocial Services

Cancer programs must develop a process to incorporate the screening of distress into the standard care of oncology patients.

All cancer patients must be screened for distress a minimum of one time at a pivotal medical visit as determined by the program.

Policies and procedures are in place to ensure patient access to psychosocial services either on-site or by referral.

2020 5.2: Psychosocial Distress Screening

Psychosocial services are available on-site or by referral.

Cancer patients are screened for psychosocial distress at least once during the first course of treatment.

The following patients are not included in compliance for this standard:

• Biopsy only or class of case “00” patients

• Patients who are admitted to the hospital with a history of cancer, but for non-cancer related issues

• Inpatients with a current diagnosis of cancer who are treated for a non-cancer issue and do not receive cancer treatment


2016 N/A

Phase-in Standard

2020 5.3 Breast Sentinel Node Biopsy

All sentinel nodes for breast cancer are identified, removed, and subjected to pathologic analysis.

Operative reports for patients undergoing breast sentinel node biopsy includes required minimum elements in synoptic format.


2016 N/A

Phase-in Standard

2020 5.4 Breast Axillary Dissection

Axillary dissections for breast cancer remove level I and II lymph nodes within an anatomic triangle comprised of the axillary vein, chest wall, and latissimus dorsi, while preserving key neurovascular structures.

Operative reports for patients undergoing axillary dissection include the required minimum elements in synoptic format.


2016 N/A

Phase-in Standard

2020 5.5 Primary Cutaneous Melanoma

This standard applies to patients undergoing curative-intent wide local excision of a primary cutaneous melanoma lesion.

Clinical margin width for wide local excision of invasive melanoma is 1 cm for melanomas less than 1 mm thick.

Clinical margin width for wide local excision of invasive melanoma is 1 to 2 cm for melanomas 1 to 2 mm thick.

Clinical margin width for wide local excision of invasive melanoma is 2 cm for melanomas greater than 2 mm thick.

The clinical margin width for wide local excision of a melanoma in situ is at least 5 mm.

Operative reports for patients undergoing a wide local excision of a primary cutaneous melanoma include the required minimum elements in synoptic format.


2016 N/A

Phase-in Standard

2020 5.6 Colon Resection

This standard applies to all curative resections for colon cancer and applies to all operative approaches.

Resection of the tumor-bearing bowel segment and complete lymphadenectomy is performed en bloc with proximal vascular ligation at the origin of the primary feeding vessel(s).

Operative reports for patients undergoing resection for colon cancer include the required minimum elements in synoptic format.


2016 N/A

Phase-in Standard

2020 5.7 Total Mesorectal Excision

This standard applies to operations for curative intent radical resections of rectal adenocarcinoma and excludes local excision approaches.

Total mesorectal excision is performed for all patients undergoing radical surgical resection of mid and low rectal cancers and results in a complete or near complete mesorectal excision.

The quality of TME resection (complete, near complete, or incomplete) is documented in curative resection of rectal adenocarcinoma pathology reports in synoptic format.


2016 N/A

Phase-in Standard

2020 5.8 Pulmonary Resection

This standard applies to the primary surgical procedure for curative intent pulmonary resections for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), small cell lung cancer (SCLC), and carcinoid tumors of the lung. This standard applies to all operative approaches.

The surgical pathology report following any curative intent pulmonary resection for primary lung malignancy must contain lymph nodes from at least one (named and/ or numbered) hilar station and at least three distinct (named and/or numbered) mediastinal stations.

The nodal stations examined by the pathologist must be documented in curative pulmonary resection pathology reports in synoptic format


Phase-In Standards

There are several standards that will be phased in over the coming years. These standards are more clinical in nature, and therefore the CoC will give facilities more time to study these standards and work toward implementation over time. They mainly center around cancer surgeries for certain disease sites, oncology nursing credentials, and also survivorship care planning. Administrators are encouraged to work collaboratively with their surgeons and hospital staff to introduce these new standards at their facility and the ACS will continue to provide education sessions on the new requirements.

Next Steps

OncoLens is preparing a more comprehensive webinar for the industry and plans to discuss how its platform can assist cancer centers with CoC, NAPBC, and NAPRC accreditation. Registration will be opening soon so watch our blog and social media posts for notification of the date and time!

WellStar Health System Aligns with OncoLens in Pursuit of Multidisciplinary Care Efficiencies and NAPRC Accreditation

As one of the fastest growing health systems in Georgia, WellStar Health System offers patients a comprehensive network of hospitals (11), urgent care centers (15), and satellite imaging centers (16), plus nursing, hospice, and other healthcare facilities. The organization prides itself on adopting the latest innovations and delivering world-class patient care to the communities it services. Its cancer centers are no exception.

With 13 different recurring cancer conferences across the health system and a rapidly growing patient population, Leigh Webb, WellStar’s Cancer Data Quality and Accreditation Manager, found the amount of manual work involved in managing the tumor board conferences and accreditation reports overwhelming. She knew it was time to rethink the way the health system prepared for and conducted its multi-specialty conferences. That’s when she turned to OncoLens.

“We decided to deploy OncoLens in two of our centers that had the highest volume of cases. Our goal was to create a better experience for our physicians and care team members by streamlining the manual work required for tumor board conferences,” said Webb. “We also wanted to find a better way to minimize the volume of emails and phone calls that often came in during last minute preparations for our conference, and to facilitate more productive conferences. Our physicians and their assistants have found it to be so much easier because they are able to quickly enter the case directly into the application. Our administrative team is able to generate the necessary reports for accreditation instantly vs. having to enter mountains of data at the end of the year.”

The whole process is much more streamlined, and we are able to focus on the patient, not the paperwork

Out with the Old

Prior to implementing OncoLens, the WellStar team of physicians, oncologists, radiologists and others were dependent on emails and calls to schedule cases and gather the necessary patient information. The registrar team was constantly monitoring the email box and voicemail system to watch for case information. Plus, registrars spent days entering information into reports that had to be submitted to maintain Commission on Cancer (COC) accreditation. Everyone had to sift through thick binders of case information during the sessions.

With OncoLens, the system automatically schedules the conferences and notifies each participant of what information is needed and what has been submitted. Information can be easily uploaded into a centralized place that all participants can access anywhere, any time. As the conference occurs, smart forms are populated with the necessary data that creates a record of the conference and ensures the session supports the health system’s accreditation goals. The necessary reports can be generated with the click of a button.

According to Webb, “One of the best things about using the OncoLens platform to manage our tumor board conferences and accreditation efforts is the fact that everything sits in one place. Everyone knows exactly what needs to be done by when. They can easily upload their slides, and we don’t have to create PowerPoint presentations for every case. The whole process is much more streamlined, and we are able to focus on the patient, not the paperwork.”

By guiding the conferences along and making sure the appropriate clinical and operational processes are followed to be in compliance with accreditation requirements, Webb identified the opportunity to leverage the reports in OncoLens to pursue the new guidelines for accreditation under the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC). NAPRC was developed through a collaboration of The OSTRiCh Consortium (Optimizing the Surgical Treatment of Rectal Cancer) and the CoC. With the goal of ensuring patients with rectal cancer receive appropriate care using a multi-disciplinary approach, it is more intense than its predecessor, National Accreditation Program for Breast Cancer (NAPBC). The requirements have a stronger emphasis on clinical data capture and multiple rounds of discussions at various stages along the treatment plan. The complexities are greater, and therefore can be perceived to be harder to manage.

“We worked closely with the OncoLens team to take the NAPRC guidelines and build business logic and reporting capabilities into the system that allows us to more easily follow the recommended steps and capture the clinical information we need to pursue NAPRC accreditation. Reports that used to take us days to prepare now can be done in minutes by clicking a button in OncoLens” added Webb.

Some of the added benefits that Webb and her team are starting to realize with the solution include the presentation of relevant clinical trials that the system generates based on the case type and makes available with the touch of a button during conferences.

White-Glove Customer Support

Having great technology isn’t always enough though. Technology must be backed by a strong customer support team. According to Webb, working with the OncoLens team has been great. “The OncoLens team was amazing, from the first interaction with the co-founders, Anju Mathew and Dr. Lijo Simpson, to the day-to-day customer success team, led by Ebony Johnson. They are very interactive and act on our suggestions, and they are proactive in being sure we have everything we need to successfully roll out the solution across our centers. You just can’t put a value on that,” she added.

The Future Looks Bright for WellStar

Under the constant pressure of providing high quality patient service and aligning with value-based care reimbursement models, WellStar is constantly looking for ways to improve efficiencies and deliver high quality care to their patients. With rectal cancer being one of the fastest growing types of cancer, achieving NAPRC accreditation across its facilities is a top priority. The organization wants to ensure the communities it serves know that they can come to WellStar and receive the highest quality care possible.

As the health system continues its strong track record of growth across the state of Georgia, Webb and her team expect to continue to benefit from the product plans OncoLens has in place. “We look forward to a long and highly productive partnership with the OncoLens team.”

About WellStar Health System

WellStar Health System, the largest health system in Georgia, is known nationally for its innovative care models, focused on improving quality and access to healthcare. Staying ahead of the curve in technology has enabled WellStar to be leaders in both the diagnosis and treatment of an extensive array of health conditions. Serving a diverse population, WellStar consistently looks at total patient wellness and works to ensure that all systems support that focus. WellStar is recognized nationally as an Employer of Choice and is featured on FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list and Work Mother Magazine’s Best Companies list.

About OncoLens

OncoLens develops technologies that improve cancer treatment planning, simplify Tumor Board management, facilitate survivorship care planning, and automate accreditation and quality reporting through an intelligent workflow engine that streamlines business processes and enables more informed clinical decision-making. To learn more about OncoLens, please visit www.OncoLens.com

WellStar Health System at a Glance

  • Main Offices: 805 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta, Georgia 30066
  • Employees: 20,000+
  • 11 hospitals, 15 urgent care centers
  • 16 satellite diagnostic imaging centers
  • 3 health parks, 1 pediatric center
  • 1 adult congregate living facility
  • 3 inpatient hospices, 3 skilled nursing facilities
  • 225 medical office locations

How it Works

OncoLens uses an intuitive, rules-based engine that intelligently automates workflows to simplify and organize the cancer treatment planning process, helping cancer centers:

  • coordinate and conduct Tumor Board conferences
  • automatically create survivorship care plans and identify eligible patients
  • capture accreditation data and quality metrics during conferences
  • identify case-specific research and clinical opportunities

OncoLens removes many operational barriers, enabling cancer centers to discuss two to five more cases per Tumor Board; and facilitating a whole new level of collaboration, allowing more experts the opportunity to contribute their ideas. Most importantly, it gives patients the opportunity to receive the best possible care plan.

For more information, visit oncolens.com

© 2019 OncoLens, Inc.

What Does Medicine’s Changing Demographic Mean for Healthcare Technology?

The millennial generation is now the largest component of the workforce. As more millennials begin their careers and Baby Boomers continue to retire, the generational picture is changing. This change extends to medicine as well. As the demographics change, so will the attitude of doctors toward technology. According to American Medical Association data, 15% of the total number of physicians is under age 35. Other organizations confirm this statistical trend. Approximately 25% of the American Academy of Family Physician’s active membership is age 39 or younger. Twenty-five percent of the American Osteopathic Association’s membership is 35 or younger. With the shift in demographics of the workforce, the way workers complete their tasks is changing.

How does this generational shift affect healthcare? Millennials are the considered the first digital natives. Born between 1981 and 2000, they have grown up surrounded by technology. This experience creates an expectation to integrate technology into the workplace. Millennials differ from previous generations in their approach to healthcare, seeking to educate themselves from multiple sources. These differences extend to doctors as well. While older doctors are resistant to technology, including Electronic Health Records (EHR), millennial physicians acknowledge that EHRs are an asset to providing quality patient care. Millennial physicians also are more data-driven, looking to evidence-based medicine to direct their patient care decisions. Younger physicians are more receptive to looking up information during patient encounters, using their phones or built-in plugins in the EHR.

Younger physicians are more likely to incorporate newer forms of technology into their practice. Social media use is more likely with younger physicians. Twitter is popular as both an information source and as a way to distribute information. Younger doctors are willing to collaborate over social media.

The use of technology extends to the actual practice of medicine. The traditional office visit is being transformed with the implantation of telemedicine. A 2018 survey of physicians reports that 18.5% of physicians practice some sort of telemedicine. Telemedicine visits can be used to provide primary care to patients or to bring specialized healthcare to underserved areas and populations. The use of telemedicine is project to rise as 60% of millennials support the use of telehealth options.

The acceptance of technology by all physicians will be a prerequisite to the future of healthcare. Patients will also drive the inclusion of technology into healthcare. Salesforce’s 2015 survey of the State of the Connected Patient shows:

  • 50% of millennials are interested in cutting edge devices as part of their health experience.
  • Over 60% are interested in wearables.
  • More than 70% of millennials are interested in using their mobile devices and mobile apps as part of their healthcare experience.
  • 71% would like their doctor to use a mobile app

Technology has the opportunity to assist physicians in providing relevant and up-to-date care. The current average hours worked for physicians is 51.4 hours per week. Of those 51.4 hours, 11.37 of them are using for completing paperwork. Leveraging the power of technology could give some of those hours back to the physician. Automating workflows and creating standard order sets and treatment plans would allow physicians to easily incorporate new scientific discoveries across all patients along with saving time.

For those physicians and healthcare staff working in oncology, the administrative burden is large. Adhering to accreditation standards and participating in cancer care conferences requires coordination of large amounts of information. Employing a platform that allows all participants of the tumor board conference to interact in real time and incorporates the ability to connect remotely from a smart phone can decrease the time involved. By simplifying the process and creating an environment for collaboration, technology facilitates improved care for patients. A recent case study showed how one hospital decreased tumor board preparation time from 10 hours per meeting to only one hour. This benefit extends to the entire team, not only physicians. Using a platform such as OncoLens, tumor board members have the ability to enter information from their smart phone and access the information that others have provided. Providing the ability to attend tumor conferences remotely by using the app, OncoLens increases the collaborative environment. OncoLens has the ability to integrate into existing EHRs or collate information from different systems and locations. The platform documents treatment discussions, provides current treatment protocols, screens for clinical trials, and incorporates survivorship care plans and provides access to this information for all care team members. All functions are Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant, safeguarding private health information (PHI) of all patients.

All of the medical community will need to become involved in these technologies to remain relevant as our demographics change. The continued introduction of technology into the healthcare space will transform the provision of healthcare, resulting in better and more efficient care for all.

Going Beyond the Tumor Board Experience

BACKGROUND

The St. Tammany Cancer Center opened its doors in 2012, consolidating for our community radiation and medical oncology services, diagnostic imaging, infusion and lab all in one location. Since that time, we have implemented:

  • Two physician driven multidisciplinary teams designed to improve the care of patients with breast and lung cancers.
  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) and Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), making us a regional destination for these procedures.
  • Addition of a monthly multidisciplinary GI conference in mid-2016.
  • NAPBC accreditation in 2017 with resulting biweekly multidisciplinary breast conferences.

Our hospital has seen tremendous growth in our cancer program with a 30% growth in new cancer cases between 2012 and 2017. With continued American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) accreditation, we found ourselves with five conferences being held on a monthly basis. As with many hospitals, we also found ourselves with Registry staff being moved offsite to allow for expansion of services critical to patient care within the hospital itself. With the growth of our Registry volume and the addition of conferences, we found our registry staff being stretched to limits not seen before.

PROCESS

We estimated that it was taking close to 10 hours per conference to ensure conferences were a success. Many of the steps were repetitive to ensure that appropriate pathology and imaging was available for review and that the documentation requirements needed for both CoC and NAPBC accreditation were met. Much of that documentation was manual and a duplication of efforts:

  • Cases were emailed to the conference coordinator by the physicians presenting.
  • Folders with each case, the pathology reports, and documentation of images needed for cases had to be brought to the hospital’s Pathology and Radiology Departments; additional cases added on required additional trips to bring documentation to Pathology and Radiology at the main campus.
  • Case documentation as well as items discussed and attendance were documented at the conference and again after the conference to enable required documentation for accreditation purposes to be on a spreadsheet for each conference after the conference was completed.

Our facility has had numerous conversations over the years about including conference documentation in the EMR. Physicians and our legal departments had concerns regarding this procedure as the documentation is discoverable. We have a number of facilities participating in conferences, many of them with separate EMR systems so the conference discussions would not be part of all EMR programs. We meet at the most, every other week so this concerned our medical staff. One diagnostic exam can change the course of treatment for a patient; no one wanted to have documentation of treatment planning in the record and not have timely follow-up as to why treatment changes might have occurred, whether stage or patient driven.We were fortunate to meet Dr. Lijo Simpson, Medical Oncology, at a cancer conference in 2017 and got a chance to learn about the program he and his team had developed to manage conferences. As a member of the Cancer Committee at various facilities, he saw the amount of time it was taking Registry staff to complete just one conference and his experience was similar to mine. In late 2017, we had the developers of OncoLens do a webinar for our Registry staff and ended up having a second webinar to include our Cancer Program Administrator.

OncoLens is a web and phone based HIPAA compliant platform that facilitates quality care treatment planning at cancer programs through improved workflows, clinical decision support and customizable reporting. What impressed us all is how comprehensive the software is.

  • Physicians or their staff can enter their own cases putting in the required minimal documentation, but also having the ability to ask Pathology or Radiology a specific question they want to review at the conference. The platform is also capable of integrating into EMRs.
  • Departments such as Pathology or Radiology as well as the Registry staff and our clinical trials nurse, are notified when a case is added; this can be modified to receive information weekly or as needed, but our staff has enjoyed the notification whenever a case is added.

“What impressed us all is how comprehensive the software is.”


  • Pathology and Radiology can add pictures to the actual case presentation so when the application is started, the patient history is present as well as the pdf of the path report, the pathology images, and radiology images. We have not progressed to uploading Radiology images at this point at the radiologists preference, but that has not presented an issue.
  • Clinical trial information within a 50 mile radius shows up if the patient seems to meet criteria for study entry; this keeps clinical trials on the forefront of physicians’ minds when treatment planning. As we strive for commendation levels for clinical trial accrual each year, this was a huge aspect in our Cancer Program Administrator’s eyes.
  • You can email securely members of the care team and coordinate follow up care directly from the platform.
  • Documentation needed for conferences occurs real time, attendance, items discussed (such as NCCN guidelines, stage, genetics, was the case prospective) can all be done at the conference, not the day after.
  • The platform is HIPAA compliant and PHI is visible only to the members of the care team and completely de-identified during the tumor board presentation.
  • Discussions can be documented regarding the case, questions, treatment decisions.
  • The templates are customizable to include any relevant quality metrics at the cancer program that you wish to bring up during tumor board for ongoing provider education or reminders.
  • Reports can be run on anything you need, attendance, number of cases discussed, what aspects were discussed, number of conferences, number of prospective discussions.

IMPLEMENTATION

Once we decided to move forward with implementation, the company was wonderful in providing a timeline. This included:

  • Administrator training – Registry staff and personnel like me who need to run reports and document at the conference.
  • Provision of a list of all physicians and allied health who needed access to not only load cases, but to be able to review cases and add input. We made sure to include staff at the physician offices who we knew added cases for physicians.
  • Provision of all the conference dates of the year that the OncoLens staff loaded so when posting a case, the physician has access to the dates of the conference he/she wants to do their presentation.
  • All with OncoLens access were provided with a welcome email including their login credentials they could then change; included was a short video on how to post a case.
  • Pathology and Radiology received their own emails with a short video on how to upload images.
  • We defined an implementation date. At conferences prior to the implementation date, we discussed OncoLens and even had Dr. Simpson and the President of OncoLens do a short 10 minute presentation on the program, advantages and how to load cases/upload images at several of our conferences.
  • We went live!

We implemented OncoLens mid-April exclusively as our conference platform for case requests and presentation and documentation of required elements from our June 13, 2018 conference on and the results have been amazing.


“95% of our physicians use their Smart Phones to upload their own cases or have their staff post cases.”


  • Ninety five percent of our physicians use their Smart Phones to upload their own cases or have their staff post cases. The application is on their phone so they can see a patient and enter the information. Imagine you are a physician having just completed an EUS procedure and knowing you have a new pancreatic case, taking out your phone and uploading the case while fresh on your mind. That is the experience we are seeing.
  • The agenda is created automatically in OncoLens using the information entered by physicians and/or Registry staff who often supplement patient history as they are researching the case.
  • I have been able to run reports to monitor physician attendance by specialty, to look at our conference presentation volume over past years (it has increased), and other measures. Come December, I will be able to run a report to provide to our CoC and NAPBC meetings on the required elements of conference presentations.
  • If a member of the care team is not present we can email them the recommendations (with only the patient initials visible) from the platform – e.g. the patient needs a PET scan before starting treatment or a liver biopsy may be indicated to validate the presence of a suspicious lesion in the liver. One of my favorite stories is having a surgeon present a breast cancer case where the patient was having difficulty with copays for all their appointments and he need the social worker/patient financial counselor to intervene. I was able to document the conversation in OncoLens and email it to our social worker at the cancer center who was able to follow-up with the patient the next day to work with her on resolving her financial concerns.
  • Pathologists love to use their phones to take pictures needed for case presentations.
  • Clinical trials and genetics are spoken of more often as is clinical staging.
  • Most of all, the time taken for a single conference has decreased to around 1 hour from the original 10 hours pre-and post-conference allowing my Registry staff personnel to perform more vital Registry functions. Much of this one hour is not in OncoLens, but in initiating abstracts for the cases to be presented.

“We noted an uptick in the number of cases being placed on the conference schedules which we honestly attribute to the use of OncoLens.”


The support, initial and ongoing, we have received from the company has made this experience even more delightful. Questions are answered expediently, whether it is from hospital staff or physicians.

Recently, we noted an uptick in the number of cases being placed on the conference schedules which we honestly attribute to the use of OncoLens. We requested that whomever was posting the case be able to have a place to document whether the case was high, medium or low priority (versus utilizing the urgent or not urgent flag on the system), something our physicians have been used to submitting. That consideration is in development by the company at this time.

St. Tammany Parish Hospital’s commitment to deliver worldclass healthcare close to home and our partnerships with Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and Ochsner Health System combine to elevate the level of care available in St. Tammany Cancer Center. St. Tammany Parish Hospital hosting these two trusted providers continues the center’s commitment for world-class cancer care close to home.

Services available through St. Tammany Cancer Center include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, PET CT imaging, clinical research trials, nurse navigation patient support services, community screenings and education. The center’s multidisciplinary approach includes surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and other specialists building upon the center’s proven highly personalized approach to patient care.

Since 1998, St. Tammany Parish Hospital has collaborated with MBPCC to deliver the full range of cancer treatment options for patients on the Northshore. Now, with nationally recognized Ochsner Health System, the most trusted names in cancer care are delivering integrated cancer services in one convenient location, connected via skybridge to the hospital’s main campus.

St. Tammany Parish Hospital is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Center and the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC).

The Harold-Leever Cancer Center Streamlines Cancer Conference Operations with OncoLens—a Multidisciplinary Cancer Care Platform

Cancer programs strive to provide high-quality, patient centered care and access to the full scope of cancer services required to diagnose, treat, rehabilitate and support cancer patients. The Commission on Cancer (CoC) accreditation provides cancer programs an organizational model for the delivery of comprehensive multidisciplinary care. The CoC, National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPRC) and National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC) assures patients and payers that the highest standards of cancer care are being provided to patients.

CoC standard ER-3, NAPBC standard 1.2 and NAPRC standard 1.3 and 1.4 define the Multidisciplinary Conferences (Tumor Boards) as essential for timely discussion of patients to improve outcomes. Tumor Boards have been conducted at The Harold-Leever Cancer for more than 12 years. We currently run four total Tumor Boards with an average of 24 breast conferences/ year, 12 GI conferences/year, 12 Thoracic Conferences/year and three UroOncology Conferences/year.

The Center’s former process involved sending a request for cases to all of our provider teams. Case information received via often unsecure email or text messages or telephone would involve a patient name and DOB with no clinical history. Names received would often be illegible and cases had to be researched for clinical history. Care had to be taken to put cases on the correct conference especially with several conferences happening in a week. The conference coordinator would then manually create an agenda with information regarding the pathology and radiology image locations that had to be sent to the correct departments. There were many email and phone exchanges between various departments to ensure all the data was accurate for a smooth presentation.

Additionally, significant work occurred if cases were added to the conference at the last minute. On the day of the conference, the metrics relevant to the CoC accreditation process was manually written down for collation later. All of these labor-intensive processes posed a significant workload for the cancer center.

“As a forward-looking institution, we felt that a technology platform could help improve the quality of our Tumor Board process and discussions,” said Kevin Kniery, Executive Director, The Harold Leever Regional Cancer Center. “We selected the OncoLens platform and implemented it in January, 2018. The OncoLens platform is a HIPAA compliant SaaS platform with a companion iPhone app that allows anyone on the cancer team to submit a case for discussion. The platform automatically creates agendas and routes the cases to all members of the Tumor Board. Administrator training took two hours. We rolled out this new platform first with our breast conference and then to our other conferences. We were up and running with all four conferences by the end of two months. Cases are submitted by nurse practitioners and physicians through cancer specific templates to enable ease of case data entry. The templates are filled out with more complete data that can be modified at any time.”


“The completeness of the data takes the stress off of the administrative team who previously had to spend hours researching cases for conferences.”


Kniery continued, “The completeness of the data takes the stress off of the administrative team who previously had to spend hours researching cases for conferences. We have observed that what used to take up to two days to prepare 15 cases now takes one half day. Unlike in the past, the cases are available much faster, and agendas are automatically created and routed to radiology and pathology. The cases are automatically placed into the correct conference date which is very helpful when conferences are bunched together in the week. On the day of the conference the CoC and NAPBC metrics are collected and stored for future use. We now have easy access to cases that were discussed in the past and these cases can easily be discussed again when they complete various lines of that therapy. Our tumor registrar now has easy access to pull reports when she needs them rather than requesting them from us.”

TOP BENEFITS REALIZED WITH ONCOLENS:

1. Reduced workload on Cancer Center team members.

2. Increased staff efficiency of Tumor Boards.

3. Quality metrics required for the CoC and NAPBC more easily captured, ensuring documentation of high-quality discussions.

4. Accreditation more easily maintained through overall improved quality, reduced costs, and streamlined operations.