ONS, Others Call for Oncology Center of Excellence

ONS, as part of the Friends of Cancer Research organization, submitted a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) detailing the need for an oncology center of excellence. The center would focus on updating and streamlining many of the existing FDA standards to refocus the resources to complement the treatment of cancer in the modern medical landscape.

The letter noted that an assembled workforce would “foster increased intellectual collaboration and a consistent FDA approach by forming teams of FDA staff with expertise in prevention, detection, treatment, and management of cancer and its impact on patients and families.” The hope is that this process will coordinate the advancement of scientific research and create an efficient, streamlined procedure of reviewing oncology products. 

Biden Announces Open Database for Cancer Research

Vice President Joe Biden has said that big data will be an important component to the National Cancer Moonshot. On June 6, 2016, at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference held in Chicago, IL, the vice president announced the Genomic Data Commons, an open-access database containing the raw genomic and clinical data for more than 12,000 patients. More records will be added as researchers upload and share their own data. 

The database currently contains analyses of the molecular make of the cancers as well as information detailing the types of treatments that were used and the outcomes for each patient. Biden noted that the database encourages much-needed collaboration between researchers and scientists as they continue their work. With vast resources at their fingertips, the vice president hopes researchers will be able to identify patterns and solutions quicker than ever before.  

ONS Comments on MACRA’s EHR Sharing Technology

As part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, a national objective was created to implement the ability to share electronic health records (EHRs) nationwide. This interoperable technology is set to be accomplished by December 31, 2018. ONS stressed the importance and need for this technology in a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on June 3.

Interoperable technology, or the ability to share EHRs, would increase the access to patient information for healthcare providers across the country. It’s a critical step towards increasing the quality of care patients receive. This portion of MACRA hopes to make it so that patient EHRs are able to be transferred from one clinical setting to the next without the typical obstacles that are seen today. ONS also commented the how the metrics of EHRs might be shared and the possibility of using current data sources to address the MACRA requirements.