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Am J Prev Med. 2011 May;40(5 Suppl 2):S198-207. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.01.014.

Improving modern cancer care through information technology.

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  • 1Outcomes Research Branch, National Cancer Institute/NIH, 6130 Executive Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The cancer care system is increasingly complex, marked by multiple hand-offs between primary care and specialty providers, inadequate communication among providers, and lack of clarity about a "medical home" (the ideal accountable care provider) for cancer patients. Patients and families often cite such difficulties as information deficits, uncoordinated care, and insufficient psychosocial support. This article presents a review of the challenges of delivering well coordinated, patient-centered cancer care in a complex modern healthcare system. An examination is made of the potential role of information technology (IT) advances to help both providers and patients. Using the published literature as background, a review is provided of selected work that is underway to improve communication, coordination, and quality of care. Also discussed are additional challenges and opportunities to advancing understanding of how patient data, provider and patient involvement, and informatics innovations can support high-quality cancer care.

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