ASCO Launches Formal Development of CancerLinQ™, a Learning Health System to Transform Cancer Care and Improve Outcomes for Patients

Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD, to Chair CancerLinQ™ Advisory Committee

Washington, D.C. – The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) announced today that it 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 announcement was made at a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy event, “Data to Knowledge to Action: Building New Partnerships” at The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

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 .

“ASCO’s prototype left no doubt that a learning health system in cancer care is possible,” said ASCO President, Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP. “With development of the full system now underway, we believe we can enhance our contributions to better, smarter patient care within the next 18 months. By the time CancerLinQ™ is complete, we expect it will revolutionize cancer care and serve as a model for other areas of medicine.”

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 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 requests for proposal (RFP) in early 2014.  

ASCO also continues to seek financial support for CancerLinQ™ through the Conquer Cancer Foundation. To date, the Foundation has raised $7.8 million in major commitments, including generous contributions from Amgen; Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation; Genentech BioOncology™; Helsinn Therapeutics (US), Inc.; Lilly; Novartis Oncology; Susan G. Komen®; and numerous individual supporters including: Raj Mantena, RPh and Thomas G. Roberts, Jr., MD and Susan M. DaSilva, NP.

ASCO Establishes CancerLinQ Advisory Committee

ASCO also announced today that 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, that 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.

Dr. Abernethy, a medical oncologist and palliative medicine physician, is a tenured Associate Professor in Duke University Schools of Medicine and Nursing, Director of the Duke Center for Learning Health Care (CLHC) in the Duke Clinical Research Institute, and Director of the Duke Cancer Care Research Program (DCCRP) in the Duke Cancer Institute. With over 330 publications, Dr. Abernethy is an internationally recognized expert in health services research and delivery in patient-centered cancer care. 

“CancerLinQ™ truly has the potential to transform the way we understand and treat cancer,” said Dr. Abernethy. “I am excited to be part of a project where we can improve the quality of cancer care for all patients by learning from each of them.” 

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.

CancerLinQ™ is supported by the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. CancerLinQ™ is a project of ASCO’s Institute for Quality. For more information, please visit:
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