A Foundation for Evidence-Driven Practice: A Rapid Learning System for Cancer Care - Workshop Summary


Note: Proceedings contain the opinion of the presenters, but do NOT reflect the conclusions of the Health and Medicine Division or the National Academies. Learn more about the differences between Reports and Proceedings.

It may seem as though new research emerges each day, promising advances in cancer treatment, and some forms of cancer already are curable. Yet despite modern advances in health IT, the way that evidence on cancer screening, early detection, and treatment is gathered and applied has not moved forward rapidly enough. Individuals and institutions working both in cancer research and treatment could take better advantage of existing resources and create new mechanisms for assessing and sharing information on the effectiveness and value of each individual treatment. Researchers already gather data on effectiveness through clinical interaction with patients, as well as from cancer registries, clinical trials, and networks of academic and community cancer centers. They could be sharing that information and aggregating it more effectively in order to accelerate advances. Health care payers, policymakers, and the public all could reap the benefits. Most importantly, patient care could be improved.

The IOM’s National Cancer Policy Forum held a workshop on October 5-6, 2009 to examine how to improve treatment and accelerate advances in cancer management by applying the concept of a “rapid learning health system”—using advances in IT and improved information sources to deliver the best care, personalized for each patient.