So much of what’s been written in recent months about the point-of-care space has been from the perspective of the networks and tech providers themselves. Given the amount of news they’ve generated, intentionally and otherwise, this isn’t a big surprise. But the one voice from which we haven’t heard all that much is that of the content supplier to the POC networks.

To that end, when the National Comprehensive Cancer Network announced a partnership to integrate its patient guidelines for nausea and vomiting with PatientPoint’s Interact Exam Room Program, we seized on the opportunity to discuss the point-of-care space and the challenges that come with creating timely, smart content for it with NCCN SVP, U.S. and global development C. Lyn Fitzgerald. Below she weighs in on…

…her general take on the value of the point-of-care channel:

For the past 25 years, we’ve developed tools, including NCCN guidelines for cancer care. Although last year we had more than 10 million copies of our guidelines downloaded off our website, it is really important that we are able to put our resources at the point of care so that patients and providers are given evidence-based information that enables them to share in informed, shared decision-making.

…the partnership with PatientPoint, through which NCCN content will be shared in more than 4,000 oncologist waiting and exam rooms and back-office areas:

We work with many other technology vendors who help to put our information at the point of care. Primarily, it has been to support clinical decision-making. What I think is so wonderful about the PatientPoint relationship is that, in addition to providing that information for clinicians, we are also providing information for patients. We’re giving patients with cancer and their family members the same information the doctors have, in a manner that’s easy for them to understand and to use in talking with their providers.

…the importance of sharing the same information with patients/caregivers and physicians.

It’s important because if both the provider and the patient has the same trusted, timely, evidence-based information, it helps improve care. They’re able to speak to one another on the same level and, again, engage in good decision-making. We believe that will contribute to better outcomes.

…the evolution of the NCCN/PatientPoint partnership.

PatientPoint reached out to us and said, “We have an opportunity to help get evidence-based information to empower patients with cancer. Can we work with you?” I think that’s a very positive thing for people to know about – that this technology company cared enough to reach out to get the right information for patients… We felt that what they’re doing is an effective way to help us help patients with cancer and their loved ones understand the NCCN guidelines and have an understanding of their options.

…NCCN’s other relationships with technology companies.

We have more than 80 health IT agreements across the continuum of care. The majority of them are for clinical decision support for physicians. For example, all of the major EHRs in the United States integrate the NCCN chemotherapy order templates, which enable decision support when selecting a regimen for cancer patients.

…the keys to creating effective point-of-care content.

NCCN is committed to ensuring it’s done well by ensuring that what is being presented is evidence-based, continuously updated information for patients and clinicians. We are committed to continuing to develop and update and maintain our content, but we’re also committed to optimizing that content so that organizations like PatientPoint are able to utilize it in the best way. A patient can trust that the information they’re getting is the same thing their doctor is looking at and that they can have an informed conversation.

…being seen/heard in the smartphone era.

Our guidelines for patients are also available on the web and in a mobile application. We’re not trying to compete with other mediums; we are actively trying to ensure that our evidence-based information is available in all mediums. Whatever is the most convenient medium for a patient to use to get our information is where we want to be. We don’t want to ask a patient or a caregiver or a clinician to go to only one place.

…what’s next for NCCN in the point-of-care channel.

We’ll continue to keep our content up-to-date. And because we recognize the fact that technology is improving and being utilized more readily by all stakeholders, we are committed to putting our content into a database, and making sure it’s digitized and available through APIs or other formats. We want to make it easy for PatientPoint, for example, to optimize our content for patients and clinicians.