Technology becomes a state-of-the-art tool when it gets exposed to a structure that constantly tests it and allows it to evolve. Getty Images
In the history of medicine, researchers have found cures for many diseases, but cancer has been elusive. The earliest mentions of the disease can be found in journals written a few millennia back. The fight against cancer is that old and is still ongoing. During the same period, a lot of epidemics were turned into easily treatable diseases with the assistance of evolving technologies. Tuberculosis, typhoid and malaria are some former deadly diseases that have been reduced to puppet-like structures in the hands of physicians from their previous Goliath-like presence. But cancer maintains its daunting existence.
What bewilders researchers is the nature of cancer. It attacks a point and then creeps into other parts to cast its spell. The pattern is familiar, but the impact and the ways of affecting are not. It is not the same in two different patients. So, one solution would never work for all patients. That is why close monitoring and timely treatment are needed. Modern technologies are providing researchers ample opportunities to build an architecture where diverse sectors would be interconnected with a platform. The platform would hold all the information regarding treatment procedure, patient schedule and others. So, the workflow remains seamless. This is known as the oncology information system (OIS).
The system has now turned more patient-centric. And, its success is evident from the funding this segment is receiving to innovate and transform the old models.
The OIS System Gains Momentum
Cancer treatment is often a marathon-like process. No one expects it to be a quick treatment as the disease keeps putting on different facades and asks for constant attention. To keep up with it, a few things are needed — for instance, early diagnosis and then constant monitoring. In an expert stroke, the healthcare IT software providers introduced detailed OIS that can integrate several things, like comprehensive information and image management solutions. This integration can simplify the process of putting all patient data in one location, including treatment schedules, treatment delivery, treatment plans and treatment summaries. It further integrates communication between the radiation department and the healthcare enterprises.
OIMS Strives to Reach Full Potential
Technology becomes a state-of-the-art tool when it gets exposed to a structure that constantly tests it and allows it to evolve. It is almost impossible to plan everything beforehand or foresee all the puzzling issues that might jeopardize the process. It is the same with the oncology information system. In its attempt to become customer-centric, the tool can encounter several obstacles. For instance, difficulties in the integration of electronic medical records (EMR), minimal interference from vendors, lack of customization opportunities and others are some of the fundamental flaws.
The technical aspect is something that requires special attention. But the constant changes in the progress rate of the disease is also creating troubles for it to stay updated. The sync is not always harmonious. Simultaneously, there are several players involved in the process and often their systems are ill-designed when it comes to collaborating smoothly. And updating associated software constantly would demand a hike in investment, which sometimes causes management to have their hands tied.
The Promise of OIS
It is always enthralling to find different technologies collaborating and aiding each other to perform well. Inclusion of web-based technologies to improve performance and curb the cost is showing signs of progress for oncology information systems. Varian’s 360 Oncology, RaySearch Laboratories’ RayCare OIS and others are exploring the opportunities with these technologies.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is proving beneficial in the healthcare sector. For instance, DeepMind and Google Health are planning to launch a new AI that would detect breast cancer at an early stage. This depends on an algorithm the companies have developed based on the sample images they have scanned. The result is quite promising as it could provide fewer errors than a radiologist.
But it is not stopping there. Analysts from the Institute of Cancer Research in London (ICR) and the University of Edinburgh have found a way to identify the growth pattern of cancer and predict various stages to promote better treatment procedures effectively. In fact, their study has shown some successes in finding the proper mutation of the tumor.
The next step is to provide treatment recommendations and AI is not lagging behind. Pfizer’s collaboration with IBM Watson is using Watson’s AI cognitive ability to look at a patient’s information and predict the outcome of various treatments.
Oncology information systems are fast becoming a part of the healthcare system that has its foundation in an intelligence-driven process. It is evident from the integration of Mosaiq’s oncology information system into Mosaiq’s Plaza. The latter’s alliance with Elekta radiotherapy systems is showing how effective oncology information systems are becoming.
OIS Market Predictions
Global players are finding the OIS market quite promising. That is evident from the Chinese Hedy Group’s inking of the deal with Elekta cancer treatment systems that includes the much-acclaimed Mosaiq Oncology Information System and service. On the other hand, Elekta announced a deal with Institut Jules Bordet where the latter is planning to invest in Versa HD linear accelerators (linacs), an Elekta Unity MR-linac system and in the modification of Elekta Infinity linacs. This is not just exciting for cancer researchers, but also it would impact how the oncology information systems are going to perform in the coming years. Provision Healthcare’s plan to improve its proton therapy center in collaboration with RaySearch’s RayCare is a step forward in the direction of successful syncing of RayStation, RayCare and the ProNova delivery system.
The competition to the top of the league is a promising sign for OIS. On one hand, it is ensuring the influx of funds for better research and developments. On the other, cancer research is going in new directions through effective communications between patients and service providers.
Reshu Gupta is senior web executive at Market Research Future (MRFR).
General reference: Oncology Information Systems Market Research Report – Global Forecast till 2023. Market Research Future. April 2020. https://www.marketresearchfuture.com/reports/oncology-information-systems-market-7080. Accessed April 13, 2020.