PCLI Webinar Recap: Treatment Pathways

pcliwebinarCancer is not a “one-size-fits-all” disease. Every cancer patient has a unique experience, shaped by factors from the specific form of cancer they’re fighting to the stage of the disease.

Through the Pathways tool, experts at Harvard Medical School’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are creating an electronic “roadmap” of the best treatments for every cancer, at every stage.

On Thursday, July 19, AACI’s Physician Clinical Leadership Initiative (PCLI) hosted a webinar titled “Treatment Pathways” with Craig A. Bunnell, MD, MPH, MBA, chief medical officer at Dana-Farber, and David Jackman, MD, senior physician in the institute’s thoracic oncology program.

“Clinical Pathways have become an integral part of the way we practice at the Dana-Farber,” said Dr. Bunnell, who is also a member of the PCLI steering committee.

Bunnell said it’s critically important that care is cutting-edge and evidence-based, whether it’s provided at a cancer center’s main campus or at its satellites or affiliates, and regardless of the physician a patient sees on a particular day.

According to Dr. Jackman, who spearheaded the tool at Dana-Farber, Pathways “is a means to bridge complementary efforts” across sites, ensuring standardized care and optimizing resources.

Physicians rely on Pathways to guide the development of customized treatment plans that match patients with the therapies best-suited to their needs. The platform provides real-time decision-making support across a continuum of cancer care and is available to every provider in the Dana-Farber network.

Drug availability, clinical trial relevance, medication interactions, and co-morbid conditions are among the data physicians can analyze to forge a unique path for each patient.

Though no single technology can ever be granular enough to encompass every possible treatment for every patient, Pathways has been established as an effective, innovative platform at cancer centers across the country.

Jackman said the goal at Dana-Farber is to get 70 to 85 percent of physicians on the system. Once doctors make a regular habit of utilizing Pathways, he said, its value to their day-to-day practice becomes clear.

“Art isn’t art till it hits canvas,” said Jackman. “Before that it’s just vision.”

A recording of the webinar can be found here.

Pictured (top to bottom): Dana-Farber’s Dr. Craig A. Bunnell and Dr. David Jackman.


AACI PCLI Webinar: Treatment Pathways


Join us this Thursday, July 19 at 12 pm Eastern for a PCLI webinar, “Treatment Pathways,” hosted by AACI with Craig A. Bunnell, MD, MPH, MBA, chief medical officer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School and PCLI steering committee member. Guest presenter is David Jackman, MD, senior physician in the Dana-Farber thoracic oncology program.

Pathways blog

Webinar Tackles Clinical Trial Management at Satellite Sites


On Wednesday, June 6, AACI’s Clinical Research Initiative (CRI) hosted “Satellite Locations,” a webinar presented by Andrea Kruse, clinical trials network manager at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School, and Cathy Hugney, RN, CCRP, regional oncology program manager at the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center. The discussion was moderated by Laurin Priddy, clinical research manager at Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center.

The webinar followed from a lively discussion of the topic on the CRI Listserv, where staff from our 98 member centers crowd-source information from their peers on best practices. In fact, Priddy says she developed the “Satellite Locations” webinar as she solicited help from colleagues to deal with her own “growing pains” related to efforts to institute efficient satellite site communication and clinical trial portfolio expansion at her cancer center. Clearly a hot topic, the webinar attracted 190 registrants from 59 AACI cancer centers – more than half of our member centers.

In addition to Priddy’s wealth of experience, Kruse and Hugney brought their own specialized knowledge. Kruse oversees the research operations of Dana-Farber’s New England network, which consists of four satellite locations, three physician practices, and multiple community hospital partners. The goal of the network, Kruse says, is to increase patient access to high-quality oncology care in integrated community settings while offering access to cutting-edge therapies that are centralized at Dana-Farber’s main campus in Boston. For the past 40 years, Hugney has worked in various capacities at several Cleveland Clinic facilities. Since 2011, she has managed research at eight of its regional sites, including hospitals, family health centers, stand-alone cancer centers and, most recently, community outreach programs.

Kruse and Hugney covered a range of topics, from the structure of their main campus and satellite sites, to how studies are opened at regional sites, how budgets and monitoring visits are managed, and the ways drugs and live tissue samples are transported between locations for storage at the main campus.

A common theme linking the presentations was the role of technology in maintaining connections among primary sites and satellite locations. For instance, Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center uses Skype to loop satellite staff into disease group meetings and other important discussions at the main campus and submits institutional review board applications electronically for trials. The center also uses shared computer drives and SharePoint, a web-based collaborative platform. Both cancer centers manage medical records electronically via Epic.

Other shared practices between the two systems include granting primary investigators the authority to determine which trials are open at satellite locations, making all Phase 1 clinical trials available to satellite patients, and counting trial participant accrual at satellite sites towards the main campus totals.

Slides and video of the webinar will soon be available through the AACI website. The discussion will continue at the 10th Annual CRI Meeting“Leveraging Change to Advance Cures for Cancer Patients”— slated for July 11-12 in Chicago.