WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Connected health technologies have the potential to maximize the value of our nation's investments in cancer by supporting empowered individuals and patients, according to a report released today by the President's Cancer Panel. The Panel's report, Improving Cancer-Related Outcomes with Connected Health finds that while technologies have been widely adopted in healthcare settings and among the general population, health information often remains trapped in silos. Patients, providers, caregivers, healthcare systems, researchers, and public health agencies often lack the tools they need to access and optimally use these data. The report concludes that while the challenges to connected health are daunting, they can be overcome.
"Connected health is truly about people more than technologies," said Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, chair of the President's Cancer Panel. "The time is now to ensure that connected health applications are developed and implemented to meet the needs of patients, families, and care teams and to reduce the burden of cancer in the United States."
The Panel defines connected health as "the use of technology to facilitate the efficient and effective collection, flow, and use of health information." According to the report, while current technologies can make tremendous contributions toward improved outcomes for cancer patients and their families and support the oncology workforce, there are significant barriers when it comes to implementing these technologies in the real world. For example, many patients cannot access their own health information or get errors in that information corrected; providers experience electronic health record fatigue and frustration due to lack of interoperability, among other challenges; and researchers do not have a central location to compile, analyze, or even access critical data.
The Panel's report concludes that if technologies are developed and implemented thoughtfully, and optimized based on users' experiences as well as evidence, connected health has significant potential to achieve three critical goals – improve the experience of care for cancer patients and their caregivers; improve the experience of the oncology workforce in providing care; and reduce the burden of cancer at the population level. Connected health also can help achieve the goal set by the Vice President's Cancer Moonshot of doubling the rate of progress in cancer research and treatment over the next five years.
The Panel invited experts from The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, National Cancer Institute, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, among other organizations, to participate in a series of working groups that informed the development of the report and the Panel's recommendations.
- The Panel calls for a clear and unwavering focus on three guiding principles:
- People, not technologies, must be at the center of connected health for cancer;
- Timely and equitable access to data is imperative; and
- A culture of collaboration will accelerate progress.
- The Panel identified a series of critical objectives and associated action items, including:
- Enable interoperability among institutions and individuals that support care delivery across the cancer continuum;
- Enable individuals to manage their health information and participate in their care across the cancer continuum;
- Ensure that federal programs and health IT tools support the oncology workforce in delivering care;
- Facilitate health information access and sharing by ensuring adequate Internet access; and
- Facilitate data sharing and integration to improve care, enhance surveillance, and advance research.
- The Panel urges all stakeholders—health IT developers, healthcare organizations, healthcare providers, researchers, government agencies, and patients and their families—to mobilize and work together to realize the full potential of connected health in reducing the burden of cancer in the United States.
The complete report can be accessed at https://PresCancerPanel.cancer.gov/report/connectedhealth. Hard copies may be requested by writing to [email protected] or President's Cancer Panel, 9000 Rockville Pike, Building 31, Room B2B37, MSC 2590, Bethesda, MD 20892.
The President's Cancer Panel consists of three members appointed by the President of the United States. Current members are Barbara Rimer, DrPH, Chair, Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health; Hill Harper, JD, cancer survivor, four-time New York Times Best-Selling Author, actor, and philanthropist; and Owen Witte, MD, University Professor and Director, Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, University of California, Los Angeles. The Panel, established by the National Cancer Act of 1971, is an independent entity charged with monitoring the National Cancer Program and reporting to the President on any barriers to its execution. The Panel does not conduct scientific research, and while support for the Panel is provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health under the Department of Health and Human Services, its conclusions and recommendations should not be inferred as policy or perspectives of the NCI. More information about the Panel's role and background on its members can be found at https://PresCancerPanel.cancer.gov/.
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SOURCE President's Cancer Panel