Last year I reported about a new decision support tool developed by Proventys that would facilitate the incorporation of NCCN guidelines in oncology practice. That tool is now slated for release next month. In the meantime, Proventys has announced the development of a companion tool that is designed to help predict outcomes. The tool, which is called Proventys PDx Oncology, uses statistical models to help physicians predict individual patients' risk of developing certain conditions, for example neutropenic fever.
The company has not yet provided many specifics about the tool, and it may be some time before they are able to bring it to market. According to a spokesperson, the FDA considers the predictive modelling approach to be a new category of medical device which will require regulatory oversight.
Theorectically the tool will help both physicians and patients make better-informed treatment decisions. By predicting potenital side effects, it also could help to improve patient outcomes by prompting providers to take more proactive measures to ward off complications.
Once again the New York Times has called attention to a hot, and controversial, topic in cancer care, this time focusing their attention on whether access to a Da Vinci robot influences urologists' treatment recommendations.The article center around a study just released in the journal Medical Care which evaluated the change in utilization of radical prostatectomies at the regional level in relation to availability of surgical robots. They found that greater prevalence of robots lead to more prostatectomies, prompting the study authors to conclude: Surgical robot acquisition is associated with increased numbers of radical prostatectomies at the regional and hospital levels.
The Times article then goes into detail on the finances of robotic surgery and how they could influence treatment patterns - the need to justify the investment, marketing etc. Notably, a urologist also wrote a piece in Bloomberg today detailing use views of da Vinci - he's been using it for years and seems to struggle with the question of whether it has truly improved his performance as a surgeon. I think this piece is particularly telling, and may indicate some physicians are becoming more comfortable questioning the "technological imperative."
Vanderbilt's Ingram Cancer Center recently launched a new online tool designed to help physicians interpret genetic test results. According to the press release:
With just a few clicks, users can get up-to-date information on the clinical significance of specific mutations."
Here's how it works: A doctor receives tumor profiling results from the lab that show a mutation in a specific gene. The doctor remembers a little about the gene, but hasn't seen that result very often, as it is relatively uncommon.
New Online Personalized Medicine Decision Support Tool