Building a Transformation in Cancer Care
Cancer science and information technology are advancing rapidly, but the way we care for patients today cannot fully capitalize on those advances.
The proliferation of scientific results and novel treatments is a growing challenge for all oncology professionals as we enter the era of highly personalized cancer care. Patients are increasingly presenting with “rare cancers,” more narrowly defined by their molecular characteristics, sometimes making the best course of treatment unclear. Today more than ever, oncologists need real-time decision support to help them provide the most effective treatments tailored to their patients’ unique biology and tumors.
Developing the Full System
ASCO has initiated development of the full CancerLinQ™ system, a groundbreaking health information technology (HIT) initiative to achieve higher quality, higher value cancer care with better outcomes for patients.
The multi-phase development process will encompass a series of successively more powerful quality improvement tools for physicians, with the first components becoming available by early 2015. ASCO’s move into the full build follows the successful completion of the CancerLinQ™ prototype, which demonstrated the feasibility of a HIT-based learning health system.
The first components of CancerLinQ™ will center on providing next generation quality measurement that builds on ASCO’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®). Future components will encompass more powerful quality improvement tools, real-time clinical decision support, and analysis of thousands of patient experiences to create a continuous cycle of learning. ASCO is currently defining the functional requirements for the full system and will be issuing a request for proposal (RFP) in early 2014.
Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD, FACP, has agreed to chair a new CancerLinQ™ Advisory Committee within the Institute for Quality, an ASCO affiliate dedicated to innovative quality improvement programs, which will guide this multi-phase effort. The advisory committee consists of leaders in a wide range of relevant fields, including oncology, health outcomes, epidemiology and HIT. The committee will advise on the design and implementation of the full system throughout its development.
The Institute will also be establishing additional, sector-specific subcommittees of external advisors to provide more perspectives as CancerLinQ™ is developed and implemented. Future groups will include patient and physician advisory subcommittees, as well as a technology advisory subcommittee.
Interested in receiving updates about CancerLinQ? Fill out ASCO's contact form today.
The CancerLinQ Prototype
The CancerLinQ™ prototype was completed in just eight months and included more than 170,000 de-identified medical records of breast cancer patients provided by oncology practices around the United States. It demonstrated the feasibility of all major components of a learning health system and provided lessons that will guide ASCO’s development of the full system. The following are highlights of the development and unveiling of the prototype.
- View Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Video on CancerLinQ Prototype
- April 24, 2013: View Highlights from CancerLinQ Stakeholder Event
- March 27, 2013: "Transforming Cancer Care through Big Data" - Video from an Interactive Discussion at the National Press Club
Related Media Coverage:
- National Public Radio: ASCO President Sandra M. Swain, MD, Discusses Harnessing Big Data to Treat Cancer
- Wall Street Journal: 'Big Data' for Cancer Care
- Computerworld: How big data will save your life
- Mashable: Doctors Use Big Data to Improve Cancer Care
- CIO Journal: 'Keep Moving' to Maintain a Competitive Advantage
- SmartPlanet: Can big data help fight cancer?
- Susan G. Komen: ASCO Approaches an Important Milestone with the First CancerLinQ Prototype
- iHealthBeat: Could New Cancer Care Database Be a 'Game Changer' for Medicine?
- BioCentury: ASCO unveils CancerLinQ prototype to aid in treatment decisions
- ARN: Health-IT early adopters well-poised for big-data advances in clinical medicine
- Slashdot: ASCO's CancerLinQ Brings Big Data to Cancer Treatment
- Chemotherapy Advisor: ASCO Debuts the CancerLinQ Prototype
- PhysBizTech: New Cancer Care Database Changing Game?
- December 1, 2012: View Presentation of ASCO CEO Allen S. Lichter, MD, on CancerLinQ at 2012 Quality Care Symposium
- November 30, 2012: ASCO Secures Major Funding and Data License Agreements for CancerLinQ™
- November 13, 2012: ASCO Applauds Helsinn’s Donation of $1 Million to Conquer Cancer Foundation in Support of CancerLinQ
- September 6, 2012: CancerLinQ Addressing Institute of Medicine Core Recommendations for "Learning Health System"
- July 17, 2012: ASCO Begins First Phase of CancerLinQ, the Development of a Prototype of a Breast Cancer-Specific Rapid Learning System
Transforming Cancer Care through Real-time Learning
That’s why ASCO is embarking on CancerLinQ, a multi-phase initiative that promises to change the way cancer is understood and treated. This “rapid learning system” will harness technological advances to connect oncology practices, measure quality and performance, and provide physicians with decision support in real time.
ASCO’s vision for CancerLinQ is to assemble and analyze all of that information in a learning computer network. Specifically, the system will:
- Improve the quality of cancer care
- Provide real-time quality assessment and reporting based on established guidelines
- Unlock and analyze cancer data from multiple clinical sources (e.g., any EMR, pharmacy, imaging data)
- Deliver personalized clinical decision support to physicians that is tailored to each patient
- Allow data mining and data visualization
A rapid learning system, described by the Institute of Medicine in a 2010 report, is designed to draw insight from the vast, untapped pool of data on “real world” patients. Today, we know very little about most patients with cancer – from the molecular characteristics of their tumors to the outcomes of their treatments – because these details are locked away in unconnected electronic and paper records.
In practice, once the full technology platform is completed, CancerLinQ will place a new universe of practical insights at the fingertips of:
- Doctors: Access up-to-the-minute, individualized decision support based on published reports and real world experience
- Patients: Access to personalized treatment information from their medical team
- Researchers: Access to information from a massive body of de-identified data on patient care and results to conduct secondary analytics
An Evolution of ASCO’s Quality Improvement Programs
CancerLinQ represents the next major step in ASCO’s efforts to improve the quality of cancer care in the U.S. It builds on ASCO’s unparalleled expertise in oncology quality programs, which is being brought together with CancerLinQ in a new ASCO Institute for Quality established in 2011.
ASCO issued its first clinical practice guideline in 1994. In 2006, ASCO launched QOPI, the first national program to help oncology practices measure and improve the quality of care. QOPI’s rigorous set of more than 160 quality measures allows oncologists to monitor and hold each other accountable to advance their quality of care together. A third of oncology practices in the U.S., nearly 900, are registered in the program.