At Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, IT is playing a critical role in providing more personalized treatments, whether it's tailoring specialized care or identifying the right patients for clinical trials.
Leading the way is Mark Hulse, a one-time practicing RN who joined the Tampa, Fla., nonprofit as CIO three years ago after serving for six years as CIO at North Shore Medical Center near Boston.
One key project is the center's new Health and Research Informatics platform. Based on Oracle data warehouse and analytics software, the platform is foundational to Moffitt's Total Cancer Care program, a longitudinal study that involves 17 community hospitals in 10 states. The program collects and analyzes patient clinical, genomic, and molecular tumor data to determine therapies based on cancer types and stages, previous treatments, age, medical history, genetic markers, and other characteristics.
That data eventually will be applied at patient bedsides for clinical decision support. Already, it's helping Moffitt identify patients suitable for clinical trials and research projects. In the past, finding patients who fit the criteria "could take weeks or months," Hulse said.
Among the other IT initiatives he's exploring: embedding multipurpose medical devices into the walls of patient rooms, expanding clinicians' use of mobile devices, and using speech recognition and natural language processing to capture doctor-patient conversations and then analyze some of that data.
Hulse's experience as an RN gives him a broad perspective. "Doctors are more episodic," he said, "but nurses are always there, for everything from care to food services to lab work." If "clinical transformation" is to become more than a buzz term, Hulse said, even IT pros must understand all facets of care, including quality, safety, and costs.