Cancer research gets a boost from EHR systems

Jennifer Bresnick | EHR Intelligence | April 1, 2013

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is harnessing the power of EHRs and data analytics by creating a “learning health system” called CancerLinQ, designed to aggregate information on treatments from disparate clinics and provide tailored treatments based on the outcomes of thousands of other patients.  The prototype system was designed as a test of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) assertion that knowledge-generating, learning systems based on electronic health records are crucial to the future of healthcare.

“With a learning health system like CancerLinQ, we’ll be able to advance the treatment and prevention of cancer simply by caring for our patients,” said Clifford A. Hudis, MD, ASCO President-Elect during a webcast demonstrating the system. “The prototype is a major step toward that vision.  Although we have years of hard work ahead of us, it’s now clear that we have the ability to collect data and provide feedback enabling the delivery of cutting-edge, state-of-the-art care to patients everywhere.”

Ultimately the CancerLinQ database will include real-time data collection directly from the EHRs of more than 130,000 de-identified patients. Taking a standards-based, open source approach, CancerLinQ is able to integrate data from a variety of sources, including genomic studies, physician notes, and lab tests, no matter what vendor product a clinic happens to be using.