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New Integrated Clinical Trials Matching Tool Holds Potential to Expand Access to Cancer Innovation
ACS CAN Joining with University of Texas Southwestern, CodeX and Third-Party Matching Services to Pilot ‘Blue-button’ Matching Project
WASHINGTON, DC – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) today announced the launch of a prospective study of a new tool that would automatically identify relevant clinical trials through one-button clinical trial matching integration within electronic health records (EHRs).
The ‘Blue-button’ tool is unique as it connects EHRs to existing trial matching services rather than creating a new matching service. This integration into the EHR puts the function into the workflow of providers and allows accurate, automated screening to occur. Additionally, using third-party services rather than a clinical site’s inventory of trials allows the tool to look for matching trials within a specified distance from where the patient is located, so their options are not limited to a single institution. The roughly 12-month study will evaluate whether the tool can increase and diversify trial participation with minimal effort on the part of providers.
“Research shows that cancer patients are interested in participation in clinical trials, but the way we’ve gone about matching them to trials to date has been siloed and largely manual, putting an undue burden on patients or providers to conduct extensive research or be left with a false sense of limited options,” said Mark Fleury, Ph.D., Policy Principal for ACS CAN and lead investigator on the project. “With just a few clicks in a medical record, this tool has the potential to quickly identify comprehensive trial availability within the region, and by doing so will increase opportunities for patients to maximize access to the latest cancer innovation within their community.”
ACS CAN partnered with MITRE, a not-for-profit organization working in the public interest, through CodeX, one of the HL7® Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) Accelerators, to create the tool’s functionality and run feasibility testing which has already shown potential to substantially increase trial enrollment. The tool will now be tested with more than 500 patients combined at multiple locations. One of these is the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, an urban, academic center. UTSW will enroll breast, prostate and bladder cancer patients as part of the cohort. ACS CAN is in discussion with other U.S. sites that may join the trial.
"Oncology care is increasing in complexity, including the emerging tumor-agnostic therapies. This is a challenge for both community physicians and tertiary cancer centers like ours,” said Waddah Arafat M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine and director of Cancer Clinical Informatics at Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Using matching tools with the right clinical workflows may address some of those challenges and increase equity in clinical trial access.”
The Blue-button tool will provide basic trial screening within EHRs by sending a select number of deidentified, standardized patient data elements to external clinical trial matching services that then return the results for any matching trials within the region. Partner matching services participating in the prospective study include Ancora.ai, Leal (formerly Trialjectory), BreastCancerTrials.org, LUNGevity Foundation, and Carebox.
The project has been made possible by support from Amgen.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN engages volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to ensure that our cities, our states and our nation adopt evidence-based public policies that improve the lives of people with cancer and their families. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We stand with our volunteers, working to change public policy to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.
CodeX is one of the HL7 FHIR Accelerators driven by healthcare leaders and health information technology experts who are working together to accelerate the adoption of the HL7® Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) as the standard to obtain high-quality, computable data for patient care and research. The initial core focus for CodeX projects was integrating a standard language for cancer data called mCODE™, or the minimal Common Oncology Data Elements, to support better, safer, faster cancer care, with lower burden and cost. CodeX recently announced efforts to leverage the CodeX/mCODE accelerator’s experience within two new domains: Genomics and Cardiovascular. For more information, please visit: codex.hl7.org.
Statement Updated June 6, 2023