LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 17, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center launched a new initiative to create a connected, integrated statewide cancer provider network. As the only cancer center in Kentucky to achieve a National Cancer Institute designation and a U.S. News Top 50 national ranking for the past five years, over 40% of all new cancer cases in the state are directly or indirectly cared for by Markey. The investments, which include upgraded cancer conference facilities and a comprehensive cancer care platform, will help ensure the delivery of quality cancer care close to home.
"Our vision for Kentuckians connects cancer care providers so that patients receive the world-class, multidisciplinary care that the UK Markey Cancer Center provides without having to leave their communities," said Dr. Timothy W. Mullett, medical director of network operations for Markey. "Our approach relies on community outreach and engagement with our affiliates. Working together, Markey supports a collaborative, comprehensive treatment approach that incorporates multidisciplinary teams focused on developing the most effective care plan for a patient. The steps we are taking will break down the barriers created by distance and data so that every patient can benefit from the expert knowledge, nationally ranked specialties, clinical trial options, and the personalized, interdisciplinary care that Markey delivers."
The project spans two phases. The first focused on infrastructure, including conference room upgrades that enhance collaboration to support a care team's treatment planning discussions. The ongoing second phase involves implementing OncoLens, a cancer care platform that facilitates multidisciplinary care across the entire network through a single system. This will help cancer providers share information about new treatment options, develop comprehensive care plans collaboratively, and streamline care coordination to support the entire patient journey, including nutrition, emotional support, availability of clinical trials, and community resources. Mercy Health – Lourdes Hospital in Paducah, Kentucky, is the first Markey affiliate member to connect to the system. The remaining affiliates will have the opportunity to onboard to the new platform over a staggered rollout.
"COVID-19 pushed virtualization to the forefront of care. Now we see how we can use a combination of virtual, in-person meetings and advanced technology to achieve the kind of connected cancer care that leads to better patient outcomes," said John Montville, executive director of the oncology service line at Mercy Health – Lourdes Hospital. "The investments made by Markey will ensure that the best specialists are talking about and developing care plans for patients regardless of where they live. And because of Markey's status as an NCI cancer center, this connected network will ensure that Mercy Health’s cancer patients across western Kentucky, southern Illinois, southeast Missouri, and northwest Tennessee have access to new drugs, treatment options, and clinical trials that will improve lives and health."
To date, the investments made by Markey have increased the number of patient cases reviewed by multidisciplinary cancer teams by 44% and increased patient engagement with clinical trial research across 43 disease sites. As the initiative continues, the focus will be on extending access to Markey affiliate providers across Kentucky and surrounding states, enhancing care coordination with referring physicians, improving collaboration and documentation of treatment decisions and increasing potential clinical trials matches. Using the OncoLens platform, Markey can connect patient data across technologies, ensure security and HIPAA compliance, and facilitate faster physician communication and decision making.
"We are thrilled to be part of the Markey Cancer Center's journey to connected, multidisciplinary cancer care delivered within the patient's community," said Anju Mathew, chief executive officer for OncoLens. "The foresight and investments Dr. Mullett and the team have made reflect the world-class care and focus on quality that make Markey one of the top cancer providers in the nation for five years running. We are excited by this continued relationship, and look forward to helping Markey and its affiliates break down geographical and data barriers so patients can have access to the latest research and clinical trials close to their homes."
When the rollout is complete, the following Markey affiliates will be eligible to participate in the initiative:
- Harlan ARH Hospital
- Harrison Memorial Hospital
- Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center
- Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center
- King's Daughters Medical Center
- Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital
- LifePoint Central (Georgetown Community Hospital and Clark Regional Medical Center)
- Meadowview Regional Medical Center
- Middlesboro ARH Hospital
- Owensboro Health
- Rockcastle Regional Hospital
- St. Claire Regional Medical Center
- St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Edgewood
- Taylor Regional Hospital
- The Medical Center at Bowling Green
- TJ Samson Community Hospital
- Tug Valley ARH Regional Medical Center
OncoLens is the single platform that enables multidisciplinary cancer care across the continuum. Through a streamlined, secure HIPAA-compliant infrastructure, OncoLens drives intra-enterprise, community, network, and affiliate participation in multidisciplinary care planning, tracking, and delivery. Using OncoLens, cancer providers can capture, disseminate, and track quality, best practices, and protocols. And with direct EMR and cancer registry integration, data and abstraction are automated and accelerated. The OncoLens platform allows providers to aggregate, create and track the comprehensive patient journey to optimize multidisciplinary care across the continuum. This includes maximized clinical trial participation, an extended referral stream, and the creation of a center of excellence that can be leveraged to support patient care and provider education. With OncoLens, providers can realize and expand their reputation to increase patient-driven referrals, decrease patient leakage and enhance their brand within the oncology community. More than 9,000 cancer providers and 36,500 cancer patients across the U.S. rely on OncoLens to support their cancer programs and the care delivered.
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.