The National Institute of Health’s National Cancer Institute will fund close to $2 million for projects that study and develop informatics tools to measure cancer care coordination.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), there is a need for more coordination in cancer care due to the growing complexity of cancer treatment and the increase in cancer survivors that need better coordination within and across clinical teams and care settings. Poorly coordinated care leads to avoidable hospital readmissions, preventable medical errors, harm to patients and higher costs.
New electronic health record-based care coordination measures are being developed, the agency stated. “The National Quality Forum recently endorsed five EHR-based care coordination measures, none in cancer care. At least 12 cancer-specific care coordination measures are available in the National Quality Measures Clearinghouse,” NCI officials stated in a summery document.
There is a need for informatics tools that automate measurement for existing care coordination measures and have the flexibility to add new measures as they are developed, according to the organization.
The project goals, as outlined by the NCI, is to create scalable health IT-based informatics tools that measure care coordination in order to assess and improve quality of care and patient outcomes, assist the ongoing healthcare delivery system transformation and improve research efficiency. “The tools will help managers and clinical teams realistically assess the effectiveness of existing care coordination and patient engagement processes and help identify areas for improvement, which will help their efforts to transform delivery systems to meet the triple aim objectives of improving patient experience, improving population health and reducing costs,” the organization stated.
Further, the researchers will gain access to tools that measure the variability in cancer care coordination and patient engagement in diverse settings, which will help identify the characteristics of clinical teams, processes and health systems associated with delivery of high-quality care and to test interventions based on these characteristics.
The project is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) small business innovation research (SBIR) program. Proposals are due Oct. 21 and can be submitted at the SBIR’s electronic Contract Proposal Submission (eCPS) website: https://ecps.nih.gov/sbirsttr/Home/Index