Skip to main content

Data analytics, telemedicine aid in cancer survivorship care

PHOENIX — Innovative programs that use data analytics and telemedicine aim to address challenges of providing critical cancer survivorship care, according to two presentations at the Association of Community Cancer Centers National Oncology Conference.

Data analytics

Alicia Rosales, LCSW, OSW-C , oncology service line program manager at Idaho-based St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute, partnered with her institution’s data analytics team to track patients on a survivorship plan, log administration of the plans and run reports to identify areas of need.

“We’ve known from the beginning that tracking metrics is important for survivorship care and compliance,” Rosales said during her presentation. “There are so many elements of survivorship that are hard to identify. … We’re going to need to work together a lot to get this right. It’s going to be a long project.”

The program developed by the data analytics team allowed Rosales and colleagues to filter data by plan due date, clinic site, disease, survivorship status, treatment type, specialty and physician.

Data showed compliance with survivorship guidelines of 66%, which was higher than the goal of 50%.

“It’s one thing to see what has already happened to have compliance data for our [Commission on Cancer] report, but if we’re not doing anything proactively to identify these patients before they’re past due, we can’t make any improvement,” Rosales said.

Rosales and colleagues use the data reports to identify cancer types, treatment types or even certain clinics within their system where cancer survivorship care is lacking. Once the problem areas are identified, they can develop targeted strategies to improve care.


At Tennessee Oncology, Holly Bushart, MSN, ACNP, AOCNP, director of advanced practice providers, and colleagues launched a telemedicine program through their community-based satellite offices to offer survivorship care.

“About 4.8% of the U.S. population is considered a cancer survivor, which represents more than 15 million people,” Bushart said during her presentation. “By 2026, it’s estimated to increase by 31%.”

Many of Tennessee Oncology’s patients live in rural areas, which makes it difficult to reach the large academic centers for their survivorship care, according to Bushart. The telemedicine program aims to reach these patients in a way that’s convenient and cost-effective.

Patients visit their local offices and a medical assistant sets them up with a mobile telemedicine unit, which consists of a computer, webcam/microphone and internet access. An advanced practice provider uses Skype to call into the satellite office and provide survivorship care.

Of the 10 patients who were surveyed in the first months of the program, all reported 100% satisfaction with their care and the telemedicine experience.

Bushart and colleagues are still addressing concerns with the program, including costs, patient identification, scheduling, reimbursement and data collection.

“The delivery and review of survivorship documents to eligible breast cancer patients at the Murfreesboro, Shelbyville and North Park clinics using the telemedicine platform increased from 0% to 36% by July 31, 2018,” Bushart said. “Our patient satisfaction surveys showed patients were 100% satisfied. Patients and advanced practice providers felt that telemedicine visits were more productive than in-person visits.” – by Cassie Homer


Bushart H. Utilization of telemedicine to improve survivorship care. Presented at: ACCC National Oncology Conference; Oct. 17-19, 2018; Phoenix.

Rosales A. Using data analytics to support survivorship care plan success. Presented at: ACCC National Oncology Conference; Oct. 17-19, 2018; Phoenix.

Disclosure: Rosales and Bushart report no relevant financial disclosures.

Read original article HERE.