What’s Next?: No Oncology Trial Patient Left Behind

Now that we’re well on our way to full implementation, we’ve begun to think about the next steps we’re going to take.

Nearly every day I have the opportunity to listen to drug reps pitch their wares to our MDs, PAs and nurses. I have also had a chance to demo a bit of Ankhos to them. Most are completely wowed. They say “None of our other oncology clients has anything close to what you guys are doing. Your software will be a success.”

And then I ask what I ask nearly everyone at the office: “Great! Now what would you like this software to do for YOU?”

The drug reps will take a step back, collect their thoughts and say “We want  to never miss a potential trial patient again.”

So that’s our next goal. We will compile study criteria and patient data and make sure that we have  cancer staging,  treatment plans, diagnoses and everything else we need and constantly monitor our patients for potential trial fits.

I think Ankhos is poised to do this with excellent precision because it is “Regimen Aware”.  It can answer questions like “Is the first time this patient with stage II breast cancer has been on the regimen FLOX with a Creatinine level of x?”

Just like the past few months… I’m very excited and have so much to learn.

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2 Responses to “What’s Next?: No Oncology Trial Patient Left Behind”

  1. kd4ttc Says:

    In the clin pharm field we called this case finding. It can be challenging. It is usually the case that the clinical coordinator will present the current studies to staff, but that is more just being polite. It is so common to forget to offer trials. In an oncology practice trial participation can be a big financial benefit to the practice.

    Docs may forget to document or forget about trials. However, orders are usually appropriate to the needs of the patients. Talk to attendings about what are usual chem orders for each of the disease that you have trials for, and if a group of orders comes along that suggests a certain ca is in the practice alert the coordinator. Other options are certain blood tests or types of CT or MRI orders.

    Dont worry about false positives to the coordinator. If she finds just 10% of the patients flagged really are candidates for a trial she will be delighted. Actually, you want false positives. With the EMR it is trivial to look up the clinical details.


    • orlowski Says:

      I’ve had a chance to take a breath recently and ping-ponged with long discussions with the research clinicians and the Physicians. One of the major constraints we have while making Aknhos is that the office has zero extra time. This also means zero extra time to remember trials.

      I brought up all these neat machine-learning (and just patient criteria matching) we could do to find potential trial patients to my physicians, and they liked the sound of it.

      However it turns out that if you are looking at a patient’s past performance or prognoses, you are probably already too late to get them on a trial. The key is going to be analyzing schedules to provide lists of potential patients… in order to remind the MDs that there is a trial. The future is what is important, not the past.

      We want to get a sick person treated as soon as possible, trial or not and having a retro-active trigger on monday for a patient seen friday afternoon just isn’t fast enough. There is still a lot to be done on this, obviously, but it’s exciting.

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