Oncology Outlook: Breast Cancer Care: A Focused Factory with an Evolving Architecture

Jivesh Sharma, MD
Published: Thursday, Sep 18, 2008
The evolution of the clinical care of breast cancer patients has been a leading model for clinical cancer research and the management of other solid tumors. As we start on the path of defining the optimal IT architecture for the care of our cancer patients, breast cancer serves as an excellent model in community cancer care. The journey of each breast cancer patient is unique and complex. For most patients, the path begins with the initial screening imaging studies (mammography or MRI) followed by biopsies, surgery, adjuvant radiation, and chemotherapy.

Drivers for executive direction can vary for diff erent organizations and in diff erent markets. These need to be carefully thought out. Universal drivers for the care of cancer patients and for breast cancer patients in particular include:
  • Optimizing outcomes
  • Maximizing safety and reducing errors
  • Optimizing financial performance
  • Maximizing customer service
  • Tracking and reducing variation
  • Articulating value provided
  • Improving current processes
  • Transforming processes
  • Personalizing care
  • Assimilating decision support tools and algorithms at the point of care
  • Maximizing contributions to research
  • Developing a clinical data repository of mineable data
Going through the architecture planning process forces one to ask certain questions. This prospective planning of what is to be built enhances the likelihood of success while minimizing the risks of poor planning with resultant strategic disasters. Once there is a snapshot of a future architecture, only then can a migration plan with budgets be constructed.
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