Author: Mirjana Phillips

irAE webinar

Project ECHO®: Cardiovascular Toxicities with Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Learning Objectives

At the end of this educational program, participants should be able to:

  • Apply evidence-based practices for the monitoring and management of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) in patients receiving cancer immunotherapies
  • Improve coordination and communication with non-oncology specialists and with patients/caregivers to manage irAEs in patients receiving cancer immunotherapies
  • Review strategies for providing equitable care for underserved patients receiving cancer immunotherapies

Click here to learn about remaining Project ECHO sessions or to view other available recordings.

MIB Agents logo

MIB Agents Selects OncoLens to Support and Expand its TURBO Program Globally

As we observe Sarcoma Awareness Month, MIB Agents, a global leader in osteosarcoma education and collaboration, leverages OncoLens to support all aspects of their TURBO program. The OncoLens multidisciplinary cancer care platform powers patient treatment discussions, care planning, and data collection.

Atlanta, GA (Jul 19, 2022): MIB Agents has engaged OncoLens to support the organization’s Tumor Review Board for Osteosarcoma (TURBO) program. This virtual tumor board brings together a multidisciplinary team of global osteosarcoma experts to review patient cases, share experiences, and build knowledge across the sarcoma community. OncoLens’ multidisciplinary care platform  captures, shares, and tracks cases immediately and over time, providing vital data to enhance care.

Osteosarcoma is an aggressive, malignant primary bone cancer. It is the most prevalent bone cancer in the United States, with between 800-1,000 new patients diagnosed each year. Osteosarcoma is also the most prevalent bone cancer impacting children and young adults.

TURBO brings together great minds in osteosarcoma research and care across geographies and institutions facilitating collaboration,” said Katie Janeway, MD, a pediatric oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

TURBO currently conducts six tumor boards annually, during which key opinion leaders, experts, and clinicians supporting osteosarcoma patients come together to discuss patient cases. In addition to supporting care planning, the program creates a network of expertise and insight that helps accelerate education, research focus areas, and grant opportunities. After a successful start in the US, MIB Agents will be expanding participation and increasing frequency to twelve times per year to include global osteosarcoma experts.

“For the TURBO program and global osteosarcoma community, OncoLens is helping streamline multidisciplinary clinical insights, education and access, more effectively and efficiently than ever before,” said Matteo Trucco, MD, a pediatric oncologist from Cleveland Clinic and TURBO moderator. “The collaboration that we can achieve on a global scale will help physicians from across all disciplines more efficiently review cases, share available clinical trials and promote collaboration.”

“We are proud to support the work of MIB Agents and the TURBO program,” said Anju Mathew, chief executive officer for OncoLens. “This work is another example of how a multidisciplinary cancer care platform can drive connection, collaboration, and knowledge sharing for some of the world’s most complex and difficult-to-treat cancers. We are thrilled to partner with MIB Agents and support their efforts in driving osteosarcoma research, treatment, and education.”

About MIB Agents

Founded in 2012, MIB Agents is a leading pediatric osteosarcoma nonprofit dedicated to making it better for our community of patients, caregivers, doctors, and researchers through programs, education, and research.

About OncoLens

OncoLens is the single platform that enables multidisciplinary cancer care across the continuum. Through a streamlined, secure HIPAA-compliant infrastructure, OncoLens drives intra-enterprise, community, network, and affiliate participation in multidisciplinary care planning, tracking, and delivery. Using OncoLens, cancer providers can capture, disseminate, and track quality, best practices, and protocols. And with direct EMR and cancer registry integration, data and abstraction are automated and accelerated. The OncoLens platform allows providers to aggregate, create and track the comprehensive patient journey across the continuum. This includes maximized clinical trial participation, an extended referral stream, and the creation of a center of excellence that can be leveraged to support patient care and provider education. With OncoLens, providers can realize and expand their reputation to increase patient-driven referrals, decrease patient leakage and enhance their brand within the oncology community. More than 200 cancer centers and associations across the U.S and internationally rely on OncoLens to support their cancer programs and the care delivered.

DTRF logo

The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation Closes Care Gaps through Virtualized Multidisciplinary Cancer Care Platform

In honor of World Cancer Day, The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation is celebrating the success of their virtualized tumor board program enabled through the OncoLens platform

Atlanta, GA: In honor of World Cancer Day on February 4th, The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation (DTRF) is celebrating the success of The DTRF Virtual Tumor Board program in closing care gaps and patient access barriers for rare tumors. The DTRF Virtual Tumor Board is an international, virtual meeting where physicians discuss de-identified, challenging desmoid tumor patient cases to develop a path forward for treatment. Since the program’s launch in 2017, these meetings have helped 55 patients and engaged clinicians from around the globe. As recognition of the program’s success has grown across the community, oncologists are looking to replicate the approach with other rare cancer types.

The DTRF was founded in 2005 to fund research toward a cure for desmoid tumors and improve the lives of patients through education, awareness, and support. Desmoid tumors are rare tumors of soft tissues in the body, can be locally invasive, and often have an unpredictable clinical course. The DTRF receives inquiries from healthcare professionals, patients, and family members for advice on treatment and management strategies for desmoid tumors. As is the case with many rare tumors, medical expertise and research programs for desmoid tumors are limited and often siloed across academic research facilities. To address gaps in access and improve shared knowledge, The DTRF runs The DTRF Virtual Tumor Board program quarterly during which three to four patient cases are discussed with physicians from multidisciplinary backgrounds. Attendance is global, and the sessions provide an invaluable opportunity to disseminate evidence-based consensus guidelines and education.

“Through The DTRF Virtual Tumor Board program, we created a pathway for connecting desmoid tumor experts, specialists, and patients around the globe. We often think of care gaps at the individual patient level, and what we know through our work at The DTRF is that gaps and barriers to access are amplified when it comes to rare cancer types. Being able to centralize, standardize, and facilitate the knowledge sharing that happens during these meetings is emerging as a best practice in rare tumor treatment and oncology more generally,” said Lynne Hernandez, director of special events and operations for The DTRF.

With more than 55 patient cases discussed across providers representing countries including the U.S., Italy, Brazil, the U.K., Norway, Mexico, Germany, and Australia, The DTRF Virtual Tumor Board serves as a successful model that can be replicated for other cancer types. In addition to the live sessions, each meeting is recorded. Efforts are underway to curate this data and make it available through a knowledge base that can be accessed asynchronously. These data include treatment recommendations, outcome summaries, and follow-ups to ensure a complete view of the patient journey and outcomes.

“In general, rare tumors often face the challenge of limited clinical trial and research opportunities, which hinders the development of well-established management strategies. The DTRF Virtual Tumor Boards provide a unique and cost-effective way to reach more people and provide expert advice in a more formal scientific forum,” said Aaron Weiss, DO, director, medical advisory board for The DTRF and division chief, pediatric hematology-oncology for Maine Medical Center. “Using the multidisciplinary platform OncoLens, we connect clinicians and lower access-to-care gaps at a global scale. And the data that we are collecting will help inform future research and guidelines.”

The DTRF Virtual Tumor Board program leverages the OncoLens Multidisciplinary Cancer Care Continuum platform to facilitate the virtualized meetings. The fully HIPAA-compliant solution enables patient data sharing, treatment discussions, and documentation for each patient case. Access is web-based, no local software needs to be installed, and the workflow is purpose-built for oncology and customized to cancer type.

“It has been an honor to work with The DTRF and to serve as the multidisciplinary care continuum backbone for this program,” said Anju Mathew, chief executive officer for OncoLens. “This project demonstrates the power of collaboration at an international level to lower barriers to care and address the challenges inherent to rare tumors. We look forward to our continued work with The DTRF and support for their mission.”

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About The DTRF

The mission of The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation (DTRF) is to aggressively fund research to accelerate the development of improved therapies, and ultimately find a cure for desmoid tumors. The Foundation collaborates with dedicated researchers and clinicians worldwide to improve the lives of patients through education, awareness and support. The DTRF was founded in 2005 by Jeanne Whiting and Marlene Portnoy, “two women working from their kitchen tables”, who over the years have transformed an entire rare disease community and research agenda.

About OncoLens

OncoLens is the single platform that enables multidisciplinary cancer care across the continuum. Through a streamlined, secure HIPAA-compliant infrastructure, OncoLens drives intra-enterprise, community, network, and affiliate participation in multidisciplinary care planning, tracking, and delivery. Using OncoLens, cancer providers can capture, disseminate, and track quality, best practices, and protocols. And with direct EMR and cancer registry integration, data and abstraction are automated and accelerated. The OncoLens platform allows providers to aggregate, create and track the comprehensive patient journey to optimize multidisciplinary care across the continuum. This includes maximized clinical trial participation, an extended referral stream, and the creation of a center of excellence that can be leveraged to support patient care and provider education. With OncoLens, providers can realize and expand their reputation to increase patient-driven referrals, decrease patient leakage and enhance their brand within the oncology community. More than 9,000 cancer providers and 36,500 cancer patients across the U.S. rely on OncoLens to support their cancer programs and the care delivered.

Contact

Allison Kavanagh 
OncoLens
404 483 3713
allisonkavanagh@oncolens.com

Commission on Cancer logo

OncoLens Platform Critical to Meeting the CoC’s Continuous Quality Improvement Requirements

The cancer planning solution serves as an essential component to monitoring concordance with evidence-based guidelines and yearly quality improvement initiatives.

Atlanta, GA (Jan 20, 2022):

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) accredits approximately 1,500 cancer centers nationwide. Continuous quality improvement activities are critical to maintaining this accreditation and driving advancements in cancer care quality. Within this landscape, OncoLens has emerged as an essential platform for cross-discipline data sharing and analyses that lead to better care decisions, patient outcomes, and CoC quality improvement compliance.

As part of the CoC accreditation process, cancer programs must perform quality improvement initiatives aimed at “problem resolution, outcomes improvement, and assurances of patient safety (Commission on Cancer, 2020).” Cancer programs are required to foster a collaborative culture that empowers participants to analyze and implement improvements to care quality. This includes [Quality Standard 7.2] monitoring concordance with evidence-based guidelines and [Quality Standard 7.3] executing at least one yearly cancer-specific quality improvement initiative.

CoC accreditation is designed to encourage hospitals, treatment centers, and other facilities to improve the quality of care across the entire cancer continuum, including prevention, survivorship, and end-of-life care. While 2020 Standard revisions lowered the number of cases reviewed and quality studies performed to meet quality improvement requirements, ensuring compliance and maintaining collaboration remain challenging. Quality improvement demands multidisciplinary inputs and a centralized hub for data sharing, information, and analysis. With disjointed technology stacks, disparate data, and few options to streamline communications, cancer programs struggle to drive the multidisciplinary collaboration that underpins the CoC’s standards.

OncoLens, a holistic platform supporting the entire cancer patient journey, is helping cancer centers drive collaborative engagement and unlock data to support quality standards. Recent projects have improved the identification of advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) patients eligible for frontline-immune checkpoint inhibition therapy using biomarker test results. This included baselining current practices and identifying barriers leading to variation within a facility.

“Cancer programs are using OncoLens to perform in-depth analyses that determine if diagnosis and initial treatment are concordant with evidence-based national treatment guidelines. In addition, the collaborative capabilities native to the platform are facilitating quality improvement initiatives by aggregating data, supporting problem statement development, and driving the monitoring and measurement of quality improvement program activities,” said Anju Mathew, OncoLens chief executive officer.

Planned activities across 2022 will continue to support cancer centers already live on the OncoLens platform, deliver non-OncoLens programs the opportunity to participate in sponsored quality improvement initiatives, and provide insights to the CoC on additional measures and benchmarks indicative of multidisciplinary care quality and improved patient outcomes.

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2022 Multidisciplinary Cancer Care Top Five Trends

We hosted Chase Adams, MBA, MHA, Executive Director, Oncology & Radiation Services for Wellstar Kennestone Regional Medical Center and Timothy Mullett, MD, MBA, FACS, Medical Director for the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate and Research Networks and Chair, American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer to discuss multidisciplinary cancer care, quality and business outcomes, and the future of cancer care continuum management.

In addition to sharing invaluable lessons learned from decades of cancer care delivery, they identified five major trends that will shape the cancer patient and provider journey across 2022.


Trend: The way we measure the success of multidisciplinary cancer care will expand

While survivorship remains an overarching measure of success, Adams and Dr. Mullett anticipate that oncology will expand and refine key performance indicators across quality and business outcomes.

As cancer programs improve planning and continuum management, they will gain more profound and nuanced insights into quality improvement indicators. Within the tumor board, the number of referrals, number of patients presented, and number of physicians engaged are all associated with improvements in the experience of care and outcomes. Longer-term quality measures point to increased resource utilization, increased patient retention, and a reduction in the time between patient interactions with the healthcare system.

“I think that there are other (metrics) that we could be looking at: number of referrals to rehabilitation, number of referrals to genetic counseling, number of patients that are accrued to clinical trials or even considered for clinical trials. Those are the tools that I think are going to lead to those long-term measures of success,” said Dr. Mullett.

Adams cited business outcomes that can be tied back to a multidisciplinary care approach, including expanded provider engagement, reduced readmissions, and avoidance of potential penalties:

“If we are able to expand (multidisciplinary clinics) throughout our health system, that starts to bring in more providers who might not be part of a larger system. The impact includes significant positive returns on driving downstream revenue, reduced readmissions, and better outcomes.”


Trend: Creating and operationalizing connections across the oncology landscape will become a reality

Connection in today’s cancer center looks very different. And many of the changes facilitated by COVID-19 have helped increase engagement and access for providers who can’t always join a tumor board or conference in person. But Adams and Dr. Mullett see connection expanding beyond technical modalities to bring down the data, access, time, and place challenges that perpetuate artificial barriers. They see multidisciplinary care enabled by a shared patient view discussed synchronously and asynchronously across providers and the patient and provider journey. And through this approach, cancer programs can drive the inclusion of perspectives and voices from the entire care continuum.

“It’s important as we begin more hybrid care where we’re connecting with other facilities. We also need to think about navigators and survival specialists. So, we try to get them involved in our tumor boards, but sometimes that’s not able to be done in a synchronous manner. Finding some way that we can communicate with them about the decisions or the recommendations that come from the multidisciplinary conversation is really going to be more and more important,” said Dr. Mullett.


Trend: Patient satisfaction, engagement, and resilience will be key outcomes of multidisciplinary programs

The patient is at the center of cancer care. A truly multidisciplinary approach extends beyond a single tumor board or meeting and brings the patient—her concerns, her wishes, and her anxieties—into the entire experience. The connection and care management that multidisciplinary care facilitates creates a pathway to patient engagement and satisfaction. And this helps build the trust and resiliency critical to an effective patient journey.

When I’m talking to my patients, they find it very helpful when I suggest that we’re going to present their case to a conference that has 20 physicians. I share with them that it’s not just me thinking about this. I may be the one presenting the case. I may be the one presenting my recommendation for treatment. But it’s validated by all these other folks. And they love to hear the fact that there has been a conversation about them and that they are not just part of a system,” said Dr. Mullett.

Adams and his team at Wellstar Kennestone implemented a STAT clinic as part of their overall multidisciplinary approach. They bring the patient into the clinic setting, where she can meet with the entire team working on the case. The goal is to expedite the time from diagnosis to the initiation of treatment. And by including the patient in the process, Wellstar can drive engagement, assurance and accelerate the care pathway.


Trend: Multidisciplinary care will become a foundational approach that extends beyond the tumor board

As cancer programs continuously improve multidisciplinary care, Dr. Mullett and Adams foresee the extension of the approach’s core tenants into all aspects of care delivery and optimization. The process, Dr. Mullett explained, starts with a physician champion:

“We have to get to the reason why. And I think that it requires a physician champion who’s engaged in the process who can speak to the reason why. The fact that we want to get from doing things in multiple different ways in multiple different formats to a single format. That allows us to be able to communicate so that different disease teams can communicate using the same structure.”

He went on to highlight how this approach influences key activities, including staging:

“Even to a point of defining staging and standardizing that process because that’s what drives treatment. Clinical stage drives eligibility for clinical trials and consideration of which trials might be appropriate for a patient. Increasing that level of transparency to talk about patients in a prospective fashion rather than a retrospective one—I think that that’s what encourages a number of folks.”

At Wellstar, Adams and his team use their STAT clinics to help route patients on the best care pathway and collect as much information as possible to staff appropriately. The clinic also serves to help lower the administrative and cognitive demands on providers. Patient data is collected, consolidated, and presented in a way that optimizes provider engagement through planning, communication, and virtualization.

Adams and his team apply the same multidisciplinary principles to identify and address improvement opportunities:

“It requires a multidisciplinary team from across the continuum to come together to address gaps. This is because once we have identified an issue–whether it be in a process or a lack of a resource or any other barrier within our program–more than likely it’s affecting more than one party. It requires all of us to come together to come up with the appropriate solution. None of these improvements or decisions happen in a vacuum. It does no one any good for me to sit in my office and hear about an issue and then come up with a solution myself because nine times out of ten, what’s good for me is probably not good for them.”


Trend: Incorporating and addressing social determinants will be a key outcome of a multidisciplinary cancer care program

Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) impact cancer outcomes. The tools, processes, and access enabled by a multidisciplinary care approach play a vital role in addressing SDOH and neutralizing the practical barriers that increase risk and negatively impact the cancer experience.

Dr. Mullett and his team and UKY Markey Cancer Center serve a broad and diverse population across Kentucky, including patients who may be 50 or 100 miles away from the cancer center. The ability to connect with patients through affiliated providers helps ensure care continuity, reduce the time between healthcare interactions, and supports the Center’s mission of delivering cancer care closer to home. During our session, Dr. Mullett shared the following thoughts on SDOH and the role of multidisciplinary care:

“The idea of using (multidisciplinary care) as another mechanism to get to those disparities in cancer care and the ability to think asynchronously about communicating with other team members is important. In our system, most of our patients come from more than 50 miles away, and they may be traveling roads that are not easily traversed. Having that communication that occurs in a multidisciplinary manner and that follow-on communication that occurs through an asynchronous route is a way to be able to address many (SDOH).”


Adams and Dr. Mullett shared many more insights and lessons from their journeys with multidisciplinary cancer care. You can listen to the entire session here. The recording lasts for about an hour and our speakers touch on:

  • The multidisciplinary cancer care key performance indicators that are associated with quality and outcome opportunities
  • Critical considerations for multidisciplinary team optimization including communication, documentation, and reporting
  • Lessons learned in multidisciplinary team adoption and engagement
  • The care quality and cost traps that can impact outcomes if not addressed
  • A maturity model to help baseline current operations and develop a path to optimization of a multidisciplinary approach
100 years of Commission on Cancer

OncoLens Celebrates the CoC’s 100th Anniversary

This coming year, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Commission on Cancer (CoC) will observe its 100th Anniversary. The yearlong campaign will celebrate this important milestone, honor the dedication and leadership of those who have helped to build and shape the CoC, and identify new opportunities to improve the care of the patient with cancer.

“Over the past century, the organizations and individuals represented in the CoC have consistently and tirelessly advanced the quality and standards of cancer care,” said CoC Chair Timothy Mullett, MD, FACS. “As a result, today there are more than 1,500 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the United States and Puerto Rico, treating more than 70 percent of patients with cancer in this country.”

Established by the ACS in 1922, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations, dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive quality care. CoC membership is composed of more than 100 individuals who either are surgeons representing the ACS or representatives from the 60 national professional organizations affiliated with the CoC.

“Since 1922, the CoC has been setting standards and accrediting cancer programs to ensure the provision of high-quality cancer care,” said ACS Cancer Programs Medical Director Heidi Nelson, MD, FACS. “While we celebrate the CoC’s proud 100-year history of excellence in the coming year, we also will continue to focus on new, innovative, evidence-based approaches for developing compassionate, standardized care that is coordinated to treat the whole patient.”

Throughout the year, the CoC will feature special 100th Anniversary content in the Cancer Programs News weekly newsletter, on ACS Cancer Programs social media channels, and on the new 100th Anniversary website. Anniversary coverage will include video interviews with past and present CoC leadership, historical articles and photos, profiles of long-running accredited programs and member organizations, reviews of medical journal articles that highlight the importance of National Cancer Database data, and bylined articles on topics of interest to the cancer care community. In addition, the January 2022 issue of the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons will be dedicated to the CoC’s 100th Anniversary.

Results of a Multi-State, Multi-Institution Implementation of a Multidisciplinary Conference Quality Measurement Tool

In 2006, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) defined the delivery of multimodality treatment by a multidisciplinary team of appropriately skilled health professionals as an essential component of quality cancer care. Subsequent research shows that Multidisciplinary Conferences are associated with improved survival in breast, head and neck, ovarian and colorectal cancers. Despite these advantages, health care systems struggle to implement and sustain Multidisciplinary Conferences due to the heavy burden imposed by the required work processes.

To understand the quality impacts of a multidisciplinary cancer care approach, we collected metrics including cancer characteristics, care team utilization metrics, average attendance, quality metrics collected for accreditation, and clinical trials from 46,000 patient cases and 9,000 care providers.

Through this work, we found that:

  • An average of 18 people attended each conference, which included representation from Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Surgery, Pathology, and Radiology
  • Process improvements delivered by the implementation of a multidisciplinary cancer care platform resulted in a 65 to 90 percent drop in the time spent for case preparation

Quality outcomes were measured by the number of cases discussed per session, patient access to a multidisciplinary discussion, and physician engagement. From baseline and across providers, we measured:

  • A 33 percent increase in the number of cases discussed per session
  • A 50 percent increase in patient access, and
  • A 50 percent increase in engagement per month

Looking at a single system, we measured:

  • An average of 5 referrals per 10 cases
  • An increase of approximately 3,000 additional analytic cases above baseline over the evaluation period, and
  • An increase of $1.5M in net revenue over the evaluation period

Complete our quick form to download and read the full research abstract, which was presented at the 2021 ASCO Quality Symposium.

Time-Saving Opportunities through Tumor Board and Cancer Registry Integration

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Commission on Cancer (CoC) advocate for concurrent abstracting and more timely submissions, but cancer programs, specifically registry teams, struggle to find innovative ways to meet this demand.

Dauphne McGavic, RN, MSN, CTR, Director of Oncology Accreditation & Support Svcs, Ascension St. Thomas, and her team worked with OncoLens to test integration with the CRStar Cancer Registry solution. The solution leverages OncoLens tumor board data to accelerate reportability and case finding, and support the registry’s broader data and abstraction concurrency objectives.

Findings point to a reduction in case finding time by an average of 40 percent and a “Ready to Abstract” percentage of more than 80 percent.

Complete our short form to download a complete copy of “Time‑Saving Opportunities through Tumor Board and Cancer Registry Integration.”
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