Digital technology meets patient care: The Virtual Tumor Board

  • Posted on February 26, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

Many hospitals use a “tumor board” to review new cancer cases.  A tumor board brings a wide array of specialists together to provide input on a particular patient’s care. These often include medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, as well as pathologists, diagnostic imaging specialists and other caregivers. 

Tumor boards have traditionally taken the form of in-person meetings on a fixed, recurring schedule.  These physical meetings are often hard for many caregivers to attend.  Doctors frequently practice in their own office and at multiple hospitals and may be needed elsewhere at the time of the tumor board meeting.  Caregivers may be on vacation or be called away for emergencies.  Too often, these issues prevent tumor boards from reviewing all the hospital’s cancer cases or attaining full multi-disciplinary participation on each case. 

Avanade recently helped a large hospital system pilot a new way of conducting tumor boards. A Virtual Tumor Board was created using Office 365 and Microsoft Teams to allow:

Participation of doctors regardless of location, device and timing so doctors can provide input on cases during the best time for them
Real-time video conference participation from any location
Access via a wide variety of devices (phone, tablet, etc.) regardless of platform.  

The Virtual Tumor Board allows caregivers to perform all the functions of a physical tumor board, yet participate at the time and place of their choosing.  They can review case histories, x-rays and test results, access reference materials and collaborate with specialists around treatment options.  

Capturing the documentation and conversations about each case also allows caregivers to search prior cases to determine what treatment recommendations were made in the past on similar cases. It allows for collaboration between caregivers for cross-discipline input into the treatment plan.  This can lead to higher quality of care and provide a teaching tool for newer caregivers. 

Early results of the pilot show that the participating hospitals were able to run three times as many patients through the tumor board process. And even though the number of tumor board cases tripled, they saw a higher level of participation across specialties than they did with the physical tumor board meetings.  The Virtual Tumor Board solution also gathers key statistics about each case which will allow administrators to monitor key metrics like improvements in time from diagnosis to treatment and the impact on patient outcomes. 

Implementing a Virtual Tumor Board requires consideration of many issues. Security, privacy and other regulatory rules are of course at the top of that list. Fortunately, Office 365 has a lot of built in features to address these issues if you leverage them appropriately.

At Avanade, we’re excited to be delivering projects like the Virtual Tumor Board that help our clients deliver better health care to their patients using digital technologies. Learn more about Avanade's Digital Employee Experience offering.  

If you’re attending the HIMSS18 Conference, I invite you to join a "Lunch and Learn" session where I'll be presenting on this topic along with my fellow Microsoft colleagues. Join us by registering for the event – details below.

"Creating A Modern Workplace for Health Providers"
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
11:15 am – 12:15 pm
Room 101
Register now

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