As health care moves towards value-based care, using data analytics to inform treatment decisions is becoming more and more crucial for improving patient outcomes and enhancing operational efficiency. Varian’s InSightive™ analytics maximizes the value of a clinic’s data by organizing and presenting them in a format that clearly shows the story behind the numbers. InSightive aggregates, processes, and displays data from the ARIA® oncology information system, transforming it into actionable, real-time insights for cancer care providers.
Launched originally as a data analytics tool for radiation oncology, InSightive now encompasses multimodality treatment, enabling users to easily explore their clinical and operational data from both radiation and medical oncology. Both cancer care centers profiled in this article – GenesisCare UK and Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre – are using Varian analytics solutions to uncover trends that are standardizing workflows, leading to greater efficiency and, potentially, to improved outcomes.
“Our main reason for using analytics is to ensure that each patient receives a personalized, evidence-based care plan to achieve the best possible outcomes,” says Matt Hickey, director of clinical strategy at GenesisCare UK, London, United Kingdom. “Varian is helping us achieve our goals.”
GenesisCare UK provides leading-edge radiotherapy treatments through its 10 specialist cancer treatment centers across the UK. Beginning as Cancer Partners UK in 2009, Cancer Partners UK combined with GenesisCare of Australia in 2015. GenesisCare is now the largest private provider of radiotherapy services in the world, with 30 centers in Australia, 17 in Spain and 10 in the UK.
Greater Confidence in Clinical Quality
"We adopted a custom InSightive solution because wanted to be more dynamic in our analysis of clinical and operational reports,” notes Hickey. “We also wanted to broaden our performance review whilst improving our ability to focus on key business, operational and patient performance indicators such as: clinical and service utilization, patient reported outcomes, patient satisfaction, toxicity and survivorship outcomes. Now, we have advanced analytics and dashboards that enable us to dynamically collect and analyze these data to constantly improve our clinical quality.”
The data are also helping Hickey and his colleagues understand the causes of workflow and operational bottlenecks in the patient care process and improve patient throughput. “We can now graphically demonstrate workflow to identify areas needing improvement,” says Hickey. “Use of data analytics helps us better understand the prescribing patterns of our clinicians, improve our governance and multidisciplinary team processes, and ultimately ensure that we maintain compliance with evidence-based best practices.”
Big Data Analytics
Hickey and his colleagues are now using the Varian analytics solution to analyse their big data sets to look for patterns of cause and effect. They maintain that using big data to understand the results of innovation and ensure the delivery of evidence-based best practices is vital in working with new outcomes-based commissioning models. “Our big data sets now include broad-spectrum data relating to business, work-flow, patient throughput, research, audit, clinical, and patient self-reported information,” Hickey says. “This project has helped improve the way GenesisCare UK collects and analyzes big data sets, to understand complex patterns of cause and effect.”
GenesisCare uses customized dashboards, developed in collaboration with Varian’s professional services team.
“Varian’s ‘out-of-the-box’ dashboards gave us an idea of what we wanted and helped us to produce our own, remarks Hickey. “It was great to work with Varian’s team of experts in the delivery of data systems and dashboards to support our specific needs.”
The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow is the largest cancer center in Scotland and the second largest in the United Kingdom, serving more than 6,500 new patients a year.
"Before we had InSightive, we had a lot of variation in our processes,” explains Garry Currie, head of Radiotherapy Physics. “This tool is helping us standardize by giving us valuable awareness into our planning and treatment regimens, so we can improve our efficiency for better patient care.”
Minimizing Variation Using InSightive Analytics
Prior to implementing InSightive, Currie and his colleagues were challenged in obtaining and analyzing data about treatment and operations within their center. With 13 machines operating across their network, processes could vary due to differing levels of experience and skill among staff and clinicians, and diverse workflows evolved in different parts of the organization. The goal was to find out which processes were the most efficient and effective, so that they could be propagated throughout the system.
“We started to develop new dashboards to leverage data in ARIA to resolve the variation we were seeing,” says Currie. “One of our newest dashboards is helping us analyze variation in throughput and resource allocation for treatment plans. InSightive is helping us to see if we are meeting our treatment time targets and to intervene much earlier to optimize workflows in our treatment planning processes and reduce variation and bottlenecks.”
Data Driven Decision-Making
Currie and his team are able to look at data and even import national data sets for comparative purposes. This data-rich environment is giving Beatson West a set of metrics to use in measuring performance.
“We now know better where to focus our efforts, and we are asking questions we didn’t know to ask before we had InSightive,” remarks Currie. “We are also planning to build dashboards that will allow us to examine survival data at a much more granular level – by technique and clinical diagnosis, for example, for more informed decision-making. We anticipate garnering data on outcomes and toxicity in the near future as well.”
Dynamic Data Visualization Using Smart Dashboards
“The dashboards’ graphically rich visualizations allow you to see patterns in new ways,” states Currie. “We are building our own dashboards that will help us analyze patient data, survival data, and referral patterns across geographical sites for use in managing our processes and surfacing information about areas that need attention.”
Before deploying InSightive, Currie visited the Varian software engineering site in Pune, India, where InSightive was being developed and tested. There he helped to develop some of the dashboards used in the first release of InSightive. A Varian professional services team later visited Beatson to help set up and configure InSightive and create a set of custom dashboards based on the center’s unique workflow and specific goals.
“I have a lot of respect for the Varian team – they have been incredibly knowledgeable, approachable, and supportive in helping us maximize our use of InSightive. Without their help, it would have taken us much longer to deploy the software solution,” notes Currie.
Be sure to visit the InSightive discussion group on Varian's OncoPeer online community to find out how colleagues are using analytics to improve outcomes and enhance operational efficiencies.