EpiSoft to launch cloud-based Cancer CareZone

Sydney-based software developer EpiSoft has received a grant from Commercialisation Australia to help launch a new cloud-based solution for integrated cancer management later this year.

Called Cancer CareZone, the new system is aimed at medical oncology and haematology but will also allow for the provision of shared care with cancer surgeons, skin cancer procedural specialists, pharmacists, GPs, radiation oncologists and hospital staff.

The software is underpinned by EpiSoft's protocol management engine EpiSteme, which the company says is currently being tested in the field for hepatitis shared care.

The idea is to allow expert cancer practitioners to publish, distribute and contribute to a comprehensive online cancer treatment pathway and health record.

EpiSoft has for some years worked with a number of leading researchers and practitioners in a range of disease areas, most particularly gastroenterology where a cloud-based clinical system for clinical care and research into Crohn’s disease and colitis is now in use across the ANZ region.

The software allows each practitioner to keep their own patient records separate, but to share de-identified patient data for research purposes. This system has now been extended to hepatitis specialists, and will form the basis of a new gastrointestinal CareZone.

The Cancer Institute’s EviQ protocols will form the starting point for the EpiSteme system in cancer, which will expand chemotherapy drug regimens into a more complete treatment “prescription” covering appointment scheduling, prompts to order tests, review results and perform other important tasks.

It will also feature automated alerts to the care team based on data in the system such as out of range results, and requests for patients to register and complete online quality of life measures or participate in other online aspects of their care.

EpiSoft director and co-founder Jenny O'Neill said the company will launch the new system in October in a specialist oncology practice that operates its own chemotherapy centre.

“The oncologists can share the record with surgeons and radiation oncologists and GPs, but also with hospital staff if they are admitting into a hospital,” Ms O'Neill said.

For GPs, the plan is to provide either electronic letters or, for shared care, a “single page” within the system that they are given a log-in to access, which details the patient's cancer management plan.

“We are aiming to keep it as quick and as simple as possible for GPs participating in shared care by using national standards for secure messaging and for authentication and access,” she said. “Our method will take GPs straight to the interactive page of the patient they are interested in.

“The GP workflow will be very streamlined, simply requiring confirmation that clinical actions have been performed if they are sharing the care of the patient. They then receive a copy of the updated care plan back into their general practice software.

“We work hard to make the workflows simple and hide the complexity all under the bonnet where seven layers of security hierarchy, pathway-based content display and automated data quality control checks are among the features we incorporate. Above all, CareZone is about supporting clinical workflow.”

The development of Cancer CareZone has been supported by a grant from Commercialisation Australia. EpiSoft's marketing and training co-ordinator, Aoife O’Sullivan, said the assistance and support the company received from Commercialisation Australia had very much helped it to accelerate the project.

Once Cancer CareZone is operational, the company will also launch an awards program for promising young researchers. The company has assisted one medical specialist PhD student to run a 21-centre, international clinical trial into the post-surgical recurrence of Crohn's disease, and hopes to extend the same concept and principles into cancer research.

“We will offer a competitive, merit-based program for the next generation of cancer specialists to implement their study protocols with involvement of their colleagues participating in the CareZone,” Ms O'Neill said.

“Those colleagues could be in Sydney, Perth, Dunedin, Singapore or in the consulting room next door.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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