It is impossible to overstate the potential of “big data” to improve cancer care, but the challenge of harnessing data and massaging it into useful information is daunting.
It was exciting to see the American Society of Clinical Oncology tackle the first steps of that challenge last year and to see CancerLinQ aggressively moving forward now.
CancerLinQ is a health information technology-based rapid-learning system that will support quality measurement, quality improvement, real-time clinical decision support, and continuous learning based on patient experiences related to their diagnosis and treatment.
Now, after completing a successful prototype that collected and analyzed more than 170,000 de-identified medical records of breast cancer patients treated at oncology practices around the country, ASCO has started work on the full CancerLinQ system.
“ASCO's prototype left no doubt that a learning health system in cancer care is possible,” ASCO President Clifford Hudis, MD, said in a news release. “By the time CancerLinQ is complete, we expect it will revolutionize cancer care and serve as a model for other areas of medicine.”
Details provided in the announcement, which was made at a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy event, “Data to Knowledge to Action: Building New Partnerships, include:
- CancerLinQ will be developed in phases, with the first components becoming available by early 2015. The first components of CancerLinQ will center on providing next-generation quality measurement that builds on ASCO's Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI).
- Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD, a medical oncologist and palliative medicine physician, will chair a new CancerLinQ Advisory Committee that advises on the design and implementation of the full system during its development. Abernethy, Associate Professor in Duke University Schools of Medicine and Nursing, is Director of the Duke Center for Learning Health Care as well as the Duke Cancer Care Research Program.
- CancerLinQ has received $7.8 million in financial commitments to date from industry, philanthropic organizations, and individuals.