doctor conducts geriatric assessment with older cancer patient.
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With the aim of bringing more real world data to cancer care, Flatiron Health and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) have renewed their collaboration to allow more cancer centers access to Flatiron’s curated data sets, and thus better evaluate and enhance the quality of care given at their sites. The collaboration between the two groups dates back to 2014, when Flatiron Health first launched a cloud-based repository of NCCN Member Institution data—the NCCN Outcomes Database

“We strive to ensure that everyone, everywhere, is able to access high-quality cancer care based on the latest evidence and expert consensus,” said Crystal S. Denlinger, MD, CEO, NCCN. “This ongoing collaboration with Flatiron will help us leverage data in pursuit of that goal.”

The NCCN is a not-for-profit alliance of leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. The organization’s Outcomes Database was created in 1997 to understand practice patterns, correlate them with patient outcomes, and inform clinical guidelines. 

“The continuation of Flatiron’s long-standing relationship with NCCN is an exciting opportunity and step forward in executing our mission to improve and extend lives by learning from the experience of every person with cancer,” said Neal Meropol, MD,VP of research oncology, Flatiron Health. 

Over time, Meropol told Inside Precision Medicine, Flatiron has created targeted data sets that address a broad variety of research questions including:

  • Patterns of care and outcomes in patients treated in routine clinical practice
  • Comparative effectiveness
  • Quality measurement
  • Predictive biomarkers
  • Risk modeling
  • End of life care
  • Healthcare inequities
  • Natural experiments to understand the impact of healthcare policy

Two examples of ways the data has made a difference are:

An abstract presented at ASCO Quality in 2023 done in collaboration with a NCCN member institution. “Awareness of racial/ethnic inequities in time to treatment among breast cancer providers,” showcased the impact of a brief educational intervention to increase awareness of factors associated with racial/ethnic inequities in time to cancer treatment, another metric developed by Flatiron.

NCCN investigators led a study published in JAMA Oncology,“Association Between Duration of Immunotherapy and Overall Survival in Advanced Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer,” that used Flatiron data to demonstrate that for patients with progression-free NSCLC, it is reasonable to stop immunotherapy after two years rather than continue indefinitely, improving quality of life without sacrificing survival outcomes.

Meropol added that, “Data allows us to innovate and drive foundational change,” and listed the following ways that happens:

  • Learning from the experience of every person with cancer, including historically marginalized groups and people with rare cancers, by understanding how treatments work in diverse populations, Increasing access and equity, supporting meaningful insights relevant to a global cancer population, and providing informed decisions by regulators and health technology appraisal (HTA) bodies around the world.
  • Accelerating research, by supporting evidence in drug approvals, label expansions, postmarketing commitments, helping get new treatments to market more quickly and improving or expanding existing treatments through faster, more efficient clinical trials.
  • Improving patient outcomes by giving care providers data they need to better serve their patients.
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