Miami Cancer Institute is taking concrete steps to address one of the most pervasive issues in healthcare, leaders at the Institute say: disparities in health outcomes perpetuated by uneven access to services.
According to Leonard Kalman, M.D., Miami Cancer Institute’s executive deputy director and chief medical officer, the Institute is expanding its collaboration with COTA, Inc., an oncology real-world data and analytics company. “We’ll use COTA’s Real-World Analytics platform (RWA) to better understand how certain patient demographics, such as zip code, ethnicity, or other socio-economic factors, contribute to unwanted disparities in patient outcomes,” Dr. Kalman says.
With this expanded partnership, curated real-world data — including de-identified electronic health records and claims data — will be used to reveal the scope of unwanted disparities in care patterns and patient outcomes across the Institute’s patient population. Now in its sixth year of operations, the Institute, like other major cancer centers, is turning its attention to existing healthcare disparities in its community by forming a Division of Equity in Cancer Care and Research.
“We’ll be collaborating with COTA on research that analyzes the impact a patient’s demographics may have on the stage of their cancer diagnosis,” says Dr. Kalman, noting that delayed cancer diagnosis for a patient frequently leads to poorer outcomes. “Our hope is that this collaborative research will identify the patients who are most at risk for delayed diagnosis so we can increase education and expand access to routine cancer screenings and treatment for these populations.”
To date, COTA has partnered with Miami Cancer Institute to implement standardized, evidence-based approaches to care that lead to improved patient outcomes. Recently, COTA’s RWA was used by physicians to better understand BRCA testing patterns at Miami Cancer Institute between 2018 and 2019. This analysis led the Institute to implement blanket BRCA mutation testing for all patients with newly diagnosed metastatic breast cancer, in an effort to identify all patients — and by extension their family members — who could be at increased risk of harboring the mutation.
“All patients deserve access to the right care, at the right time — regardless of where they live or what job they have,” says C.K. Wang, Chief Medical Officer at COTA, Inc. “We’ve been honored to work with Miami Cancer Institute since 2018. This expanded collaboration is a meaningful step in their broader mission to take focused action aimed at ensuring greater equity in cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment.”