Navigating Cancer is filling an important role in the healthcare community during a time that has placed tremendous pressure on healthcare providers to better support a growing and diverse patient population, outside-of-the-clinic. Digital health tools and remote symptom monitoring enable more efficient care delivery and improve patient outcomes – while providing actionable insights based on electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) to care for these patients in their home.
Navigating Cancer and our growing community of medical advisors have come together to address digital health equity, and specifically, answer the crucial question: Are we making products and services accessible and supportive of all patient populations? Extensive insights into sociodemographic variables and digital engagement will help us answer questions, such as, how are older patients in rural Spanish-speaking communities interacting with our solutions and their care team?
We’re beginning to answer these pressing questions with research driven by our clinical innovation team, led by Dr. Amila Patel, PharmD, BCOP, Navigating Cancer’s Chief Clinical Officer, and informed by our Medical Advisory board:
- Ethan Basch, MD, MSc – A world-renowned expert in ePROs, Dr. Ethan Basch is Physician-in-Chief of the North Carolina Cancer Hospital and Chief of Oncology at the University of North Carolina (UNC), where he is a Distinguished Professor in Medical Oncology and Professor of Health Policy & Management.
- Debra Patt, MD, Ph.D., MBA – A community oncology leader, clinical informatics specialist, and breast cancer specialist, Dr. Debra Patt is the Executive Vice President for Policy, Payer Relations, and Strategic Initiatives at Texas Oncology.
- Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, BDS, MPH, Ph.D. – Known for his long-standing contributions to health equity research, Dr. Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters serves as the Director of Clinical Research Training, and Assistant Professor in Head & Neck surgery and communication sciences at Duke University School of Medicine, as well as Assistant Professor of Global Health and Population Health Sciences.
As Navigating Cancer continues forward in its mission to reduce the burden of cancer, this board will provide strategic guidance through a clinical lens backed by years of experience.
Advancing cancer care research to solve complex problems
Communities that experience gaps in care are often underrepresented at the point of product, service, and program design, creating inefficiencies for understaffed healthcare professionals (communication and care barriers) and accessibility obstacles (language, internet/device access, insurance, etc.) for patients.
Our team at Navigating Cancer, alongside our advisors, believe equitable care innovation starts with the patient and our investment in understanding how to better support patient communities that have traditionally been overlooked. As seen in our 2021 study with Duke, this research illustrated an obvious disparity amongst Head and Neck cancer patients that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
“Health inequities are created when the people making decisions don’t represent the populations they are intended to serve. Disruption requires us to think and act differently. It was important for us to bring a diverse group of thought leaders and clinician champions to the table with our in-house technical leadership to drive forward innovation and solve these problems.”
– Dr. Amila Patel, Chief Clinical Officer
Expanding our in-house expertise will help ensure Navigating Cancer’s solutions continue to play an important role in the health community and ensure that we approach digital health product development and care delivery in an inclusive manner so that no patient is left behind.
Continued advancement of cancer care through research
We’re proud to continue driving research efforts, including advancements in our patient-centered digital experience and understanding how NC’s technology can help address health equity. As a result, and building off last year’s success, Navigating Cancer has submitted three abstracts to ASCO in partnership with Texas Oncology and Duke Medicine.
We’re pleased to announce all 3 of our abstracts were accepted at this year’s 2022 ASCO conference, which is focused on the theme of Advancing Equitable Cancer Care Through Innovation. We’re excited to share the results of our findings in the coming days and showcase the significance of our digital health platform and our research efforts on improving digital health equity.
- Evaluating mass implementation of digital health solutions to improve quality and reduce disparities in a large multisite community oncology practice (Oral Presentation)
- Analyzing patient engagement with digital health tools to facilitate equity across a large statewide community oncology practice (Poster Presentation)
- Racial disparity in receipt of immunotherapy treatment among elderly patients with head and neck cancer (Poster Presentation)
Want to learn more? Join us at ASCO and learn how Navigating Cancer continues to advance equitable cancer care through innovation.
Board Member’s Extended Profiles:
- Ethan Basch, MD, MSc – Dr. Basch’s groundbreaking research demonstrated the value of ePROs for improving clinical outcomes, including survival, and reducing health service utilization. He led the development of the National Cancer Institute’s PRO-CTCAE (a patient-reported outcome (PRO) measurement system developed to evaluate symptomatic toxicity in patients on cancer clinical trials) in feasibility and usability studies, including patient self-reporting of adverse events. This work was foundational to our real-world ePRO implementation study with Texas Oncology. In addition to his responsibilities at UNC, Dr. Basch is a member of the Board of Directors of ASCO, an Associate Editor at JAMA, and a prior member of the Board of Scientific Advisors for the National Cancer Institute and the Methodology Committee of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
- Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, BDS, MPH, Ph.D. – Osazuwa-Peters is known for his contributions to health equity research and better understanding health disparities to improve patient quality of life and survivorship. Osazuwa-Peters was instrumental in an abstract, published in 2021 assessing pain reports in head and neck cancer patients and disparities in care management.
- Debra Patt, MD, Ph.D., MBA – Dr. Patt has extensive experience ranging from predictive analytics to patient symptom management and quality improvement tools. She has held previous chair positions at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) clinical practice committee and served on ASCO’s nominating committee for the ASCO Board and the Conquer Cancer Foundation. Patt was also the primary author in our ground-breaking, real-world ePRO implementation study with Dr. Basch.