Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cancer Patients Can Now Consult Expert Oncologists at Tata Memorial Centre – Online

“TMC Online” is set to revolutionize cancer care by making evidence-based expert treatment decisions accessible to everyone from any part of India or the world.

MUMBAI, June 9, 2015: Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), one of Asia’s largest tertiary care expert cancer centers, has partnered with Navya Network to launch a disruptive online consultation service called“TMC Online.” Cancer patients can now receive treatment recommendations from expert oncologists at Tata Memorial Centre through the online interface of the Navya Expert System. Navya Network is a clinical informatics and patient services company. It pioneered an expert decision system for cancer patients. The Navya Expert System empowers patients with evidence and experience based treatment options in collaboration with experts at Tata Memorial Centre. 
The need for "TMC Online" by cancer patients was validated with a limited launch in breast cancer in May 2014. Over 2,000 patients from India, South Asia, and other parts of the world registered for the service and over 660 expert opinions were provided by expert oncologists at TMC using the Navya Expert System.  
“Today, TMC Online is launched.  It offers online consultations for all types of cancers, including lung, oral, gynecologic, colon, blood, and pediatric. TMC Online – Tata Memorial Centre’s Expert Opinion Service is accessible through the websites of TMC and Navya” Said Dr Rajendra.  A Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Centre.
"There are two major problems faced by patients in India and globally: access to care and cost-effective medicine. Access will be addressed through TMC Online - Expert Opinion Service, and cost-effective treatment is one of the key missions of Tata Memorial Centre. Cutting through the boundaries of class and region, making cancer care accessible and affordable to one and all is TMC's constant aim, and TMC Online is an endeavor to achieve this objective” added Dr Badwe.
He also further added that, “it is important to provide uniform evidence-based decision-making across India, and TMC Online is a step towards it.  A major fall out of TMC and Navya's efforts would be to prevent patient movement from far off places to metropolitan India to access evidence based expert treatment decisions.”
There are a few hundred expert oncologists in India, mostly concentrated in a few metropolitan cities, but the number of cancer patients in need of expert treatment decisions is in the millions. Navya offers easy Web-based access to patients and care givers, a synoptic case summary presented to consulting experts, evidence based comparison with expert opinion, access to previous opinions offered with similar problems, and now an effort to add patient's choices as consideration in decision making.
Over 60,000 patients are seen at TMC each year, which includes new patients as well as patients who visit or reach out for follow-up consultations and referrals. Patients from across India, South Asia, Africa, Middle East and South East Asia consult TMC experts for second opinions. These consultations are in the form of emails to the doctors or in-person visits. This is inefficient and expensive and, as a result, a very large number of patients are unable to receive expert opinions and treatment planning from TMC. TMC Online addresses this issue by making consultations with TMC experts accessible to everyone.
Speaking on the occasion Gitika Srivastava, Founder, Navya Network: “Making a decision for a cancer treatment is complex. There are multiple decision points throughout the course of a patient's treatment, and those decisions when made in consult with an expert and reliable medical evidence can make all the difference in the strength, will, and focus with which a patient approaches his or her treatment. Patients and caregivers are left reassured that they are undergoing the best possible treatment that will combat this curveball of a situation. Navya will work to ensure that every cancer patient everywhere has this reassurance and access to high quality evidence based expert treatment decisions.” 
Gitika Srivastava also added: “An expert opinion on cancer treatment, especially when available quick and early in the treatment process, can significantly improve the health outcome. Technology and systems can enable this. The Navya Expert System captures the way experts at TMC think and outputs treatment recommendations for each patient in line with what they would recommend. This can allow the expertise of TMC to scale. The system can empower patients with timely and affordable access to expert treatment decisions. This is going to revolutionize the way cancer care is delivered not only in India but also in other countries”.
The Navya Expert System was validated by Tata Memorial Centre in a trial in which the system generated treatment options that were 98.6%-100% similar to the recommendations of a panel of experts at TMC. These trial results were presented at the reputed San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December 2014, in the ‘Patient Resources’ category. Navya is a clinically validated system for patients.”
Adding further Dr. Naresh Ramarajan, Chief Medical Officer, Navya Network said: “It takes an enormous amount of a doctor’s time to read all the reports, clarify questions with the patients, consult any colleagues or references that are needed, to even arrive at the point that a decision can be made.  The Navya Expert System has been designed to provide a structured snapshot to an expert with all of the relevant information that they need. Structure allows them to think and decide i.e. do what they do best – make the final expert decision for the patient. This is the Navya approach.”
TMC Online – Tata Memorial Centre’s Expert Opinion Service is currently priced at Rs. 5,000 for Indian patients residing in India, and $100 for international patients. However, Indian patients below poverty line are provided the service for free. The system and service can provide opinions to as many patients who demand an expert opinion.  
How It Works – A Simple Three Step Process

Step One:    Navya Analysts guide patients to upload reports necessary for an online opinion.  
Step Two:   TMC experts use the Navya Expert System to provide a treatment decision. 
Step Three:   Navya Analysts prepare a simply written expert opinion report backed by medical evidence, guidelines, experts, and patient preference considerations. Patients discuss this with their treating oncologists and jointly decide and undertake their treatment plan.

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