Oncology firms unite against cancer

Together, the team will develop a new software suite to be used around the world
By Bernie Monegain
10:32 AM

Oncology focused health IT companies Varian Medical Systems and Flatiron Health have forged an alliance aimed at eradicating cancer sooner rather than later.

The two companies – Varian based in San Francisco and Flatiron based in New York City – are at work on the next generation of cloud-based, electronic health record, data analytics and decision support software for cancer care providers around the world.

Their plan is to build upon their existing software platforms to deliver a cloud-based integrated medical oncology, radiation oncology and data analytics product suite.

The alliance will enable the two companies to empower both community practices and comprehensive cancer centers with advanced software solutions designed to enhance patient outcomes and streamline operational efficiency. The goal is to offer a suite of cloud-based software platforms that support oncologists in delivering high quality care across the cancer care continuum from screening to survivorship.

"As the oncology industry continues to evolve, we are in need of innovative companies willing to collaborate and think outside the box to build real solutions that transform patient care," said Scot Stevens, in a statement. Stevens is CIO at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, a Varian client. "I am excited to see this alignment of radiation and medical oncology technology in support of cancer care providers worldwide."

[See also: UPMC partners to develop cancer center in Colombia.]

As a first step in the collaboration, both companies will offer customers OncoEMR, Flatiron Health's cloud-based medical oncology EHR. OncoEMR features integrated pathways from multiple organizations such as Via Oncology, as well as a library of managed clinical content including the NCCN Chemotherapy Order Templates (NCCN Templates. Later this year, OncoEMR will be made seamlessly interoperable with Varian's ARIA oncology information system, now in use at more than 3,800 cancer centers around the world.

"Together, we will help empower the oncology community to advance the delivery of cancer care," said Sukhveer Singh, vice president, Oncology Continuum Solutions at Varian. "This initiative is an important part of Varian’s efforts to build a comprehensive, cloud-based software platform that enables care coordination and value-based medicine."

Singh said the partnership, which is now seven months old, gives both companies a stronger position in fulfilling their goals on the cancer front.

"Varian has a proud history in radiation therapy," Singh said. "Almost all of innovation in radiation therapy going from the older days to now radiosurgery has come from Varian."

[See also: Could big data beat breast cancer?.]

Flatiron, he added, "brings that same transformation and innovation in the field of oncology informatics, leveraging data and collecting the patient journey all the way from diagnosis to survivorship together."

"At the end of the day, from our perspective, it looked like an extremely complementary relationship," Flatiron co-founder Zach Weinberg told Healthcare IT News. "There are a lot of skill sets that they bring to the table that we don't have, and vice versa. It really did feel like a 'one plus one equals three' kind of moment. And as we got deeper into the details that really proved to be true. We're pretty excited about what the two companies can offer to the oncology community."

[See also: Linking patient-reported data to EMRs.]

"Today’s healthcare system requires that cancer care be delivered in a coordinated manner, across multiple specialties," said Nat Turner, co-founder and CEO, Flatiron Health, in announcing the partnership. "By building and powering software systems that are integrated across medical and radiation oncology, we can help cancer care providers transform the delivery of high quality patient care."

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