healthcaretechoutlook

Information Technology Enabling Precision Medicine

By Kristin H. Darby, CIO, Cancer Treatment Centers of America®

Kristin H. Darby, CIO, Cancer Treatment Centers of America®

Precision Medicine

As the era of precision medicine begins to unfold, Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) is focused on designing individual treatment plans that combine advanced medical technology with integrative therapies.

Precision medicine has engendered a close partnership between the information technology (IT) function and clinical operations to understand this rapidly evolving area of scientific advancement. Genomic testing is ordered through our Electronic Health Record (EHR) and results are received from our laboratory partners and integrated into the patient’s record.

"The use of precision medicine may significantly enhance and improve patient outcomes through its ability to provide more accurate, timely and efficacious cancer care"

To enable this care through information systems, IT must be able to parse out information that is clinically and operationally relevant for treatment action, as well as data that may be of interest for reference or research purposes. Meeting this goal requires processes and architecture nimble enough to rapidly evolve with changes almost daily. As treatment shifts to a molecular level, a greater reliance is placed on technology to effectively process the information that targets and treats disease.

CTCA has been streamlining increasingly complex clinical processes into our existing system functionality with an extensive EHR optimization initiative. Clinical workgroups in all specialties and service lines were established to provide input into optimization of our technology tools to ultimately maximize clinical workflows and enhance quality outcomes and patient experience.

Building and Maintaining a Strong Customer Partnership

Regardless of your industry, a strong relationship with your customers or partners is essential. The following are lessons I have learned:

Document your Agreements in Writing: Relationships often fall apart due to unclear commitments and expectations for performance delivery. My father gave me this advice growing up: “If you always prepare for court, you will not end up in court.” This has helped me a lot.

Understand the Objectives of Your Partner: Ensure that you understand what they need to deliver and why. Take time to learn about their business model and how your partnership will meet their objectives.

Build Mutually Beneficial Partnerships: If you are not both positioned to gain something beneficial, it will not be sustainable.

Know When to End the Partnership: Not all partnerships are meant to last. The technology industry is continuously changing and you must monitor a partnership’s viability. If you openly and regularly discuss your criteria, both parties will typically recognize when it makes sense to end the partnership in an amicable manner.

Appreciate and Understand your Customers: Patient care providers face enormous pressures and challenges daily. It is absolutely critical that we understand their work environment and how challenges in IT can complicate a very critical situation and detract from a clear focus on the patient. At CTCA, our patient-focused philosophy is fully embraced by CTCA Information Services, and ultimately enhances our customer relationships and partnerships.