Effect on clinical trial participation by integration of a clinical pathway program into an electronic health record (EHR)


Aurora Cancer Care


BACKGROUND: Patient enrollment to clinical trials is lower than desired. Even large organizations with extensive research support services have many barriers to recruitment and poor rates of enrollment. Barriers to clinical trial participation can be physician related, system related, or patient related. Physician related issues are the largest barrier to patient accrual. Physicians are often not aware that a trial may be available for a patient. While all initial patients are manually screened in our system, screening for subsequent lines of therapy are not. Provider awareness and appropriate patient identification are areas of potential improvement in a large, multisite, hospital affiliated, community oncology setting.

METHODS: Our oncology group recently implemented Via Oncology (Via), an EHR-integrated clinical pathway decision support tool. Information about the patient, their disease, and goals of care generate a recommended treatment algorithm. The pathways are expected to speed the integration of new treatments into practice and improve accrual to clinical trials. Use of Via is required for all new therapy changes. Within the decision algorithm, an appropriate available clinical trial is suggested as the first option when available. Clinical trial enrollment statistics are being tracked to determine if this method of potential patient identification results in increased enrollments.

RESULTS: After 11 months of Via implementation and 103,515 visits, the visit capture rate was 82.7% suggesting that providers adapted to the pathways quickly. With 3,844 decisions made, 83.9% of all treatment decisions were on pathway. Clinical trial enrollment was 122 patients in the 459 days prior to Via implementation, and 102 patients in the 271 days afterwards. This increase in accrual rate was significant (p = 0.00174.)

CONCLUSIONS: Early results suggest that Via implementation has resulted in a significant increase in clinical trial accrual. The system will eventually be able to track how often a trial is offered and how often it is accepted. We are hopeful that with complete visit capture of all patients, there will be continued improvement in our rate of clinical trial enrollment.

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