For oncologists, access to "organized wisdom" in a few clicks

For oncologists, access to "organized wisdom" in a few clicks
For oncologists, access to "organized wisdom" in a few clicks

A tool that launched on earlier this month promises to streamline the research process for physicians. Called the Oncology Next Tool, it can deliver patient-focused information just by inputting information with a few clicks. Anthony Manson, MedPage VP of strategic partnerships estimates it currently houses close to 5,000 pages of information about lung cancer alone.

Free access is currently being sponsored on by Boehringer Ingelheim, which has two lung cancer drugs in its pipeline but none on the market. The tool will expand beyond lung cancer to include breast, skin and colorectal cancers. A semi-exclusive license makes MedPage the only one of the big medical portals to host it.

Manson said the tool, which was built by CollabRx, amounts to “organized wisdom” that will make it easier for physicians to home in on treatments that could possibly extend patients' lives.

The interface is a simple one: physicians check off boxes such as cancer stage, metastases locations and screened biomarkers. The results include possible drug therapies, clinical trial information and the status of appropriate pipeline drugs. Results may also include recommendations for additional biomarker tests.

Manson said the tool's information is only going to grow as researchers identify more genetic flags that signal a particular cancer's characteristics. This means more information to tap into, and a few more boxes to check off for a more acute level of personalization.

As streamlined as the results appear, CollabRx,'s chief scientist Smruti Vidwans told MM&M that the simple user experience belies “a very complicated interplay between our internal science team and IT department.”

This consists of three primary information streams: an algorithm that scoops up drug, clinical trial and research information; an internal CollabRx team of PhD-trained residents that sifts this information; and oncology thought leaders who filter the algorithm and resident inputs, as well as offer their own spin on what's important in the field. All of this is then tagged and coded so that a physician's clicks bring up a patient-centric list of information and possible treatment options.

The tool also has a back-end benefit: Manson said that it doesn't just help doctors stay on top of the most relevant information, but that it also “gives us a lot of information behind their whole mindset and rationale,” thereby providing more insight as to what it means to think like a doctor.

Although Boehringer Ingelheim has two lung cancer drugs in its pipeline, Manson and Vidwans said sponsorship has no influence on the drug and clinical trial information that surfaces, nor does it determine the order in which information appears. “Church and state,” is how Manson described the setup.

The site is promoting the tool using email alerts and search engine optimization, along with additional traffic drivers within the site. MedPage will also be promoting the tool during the fall and spring conference season.