Cancer 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.