New Delhi: In a move to standardize cancer care nationally, Tata Trusts and Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) bring together experts from National Cancer Grid (NCG) to grow the Navya expert opinion service. This service provides people diagnosed with cancer to get an expert opinion and treatment options from the world’s leading experts, irrespective of their geographical location or understanding of medical information.
“Cancer Care has been a key focus area for Tata Trusts with numerous interventions directed at improving treatment protocols as well as reducing the incidence through screening and early detection. Enabling the convergence between the Navya system and TMC and NCG experts is another significant step in this direction. Expert decisions through TMC and NCG specialists, can now maximize patient outcomes: increase lifespan or number of cancer free years, improve quality of life, etc., no matter the stage and type of cancer.”, said HSD Srinivas, who leads the health portfolio at the Tata Trusts.
TMC is one of the world’s largest tertiary care cancer centers and convenes the National Cancer Grid, a consortium of 89 cancer hospitals in India. Navya is a leading clinical informatics and patient services organization in cancer decision making. Leveraging the Navya decision system and team of committed patient advocates, Tata Trusts has empowered over 5,000 cancer patients, pan-India and from over 20 developing countries in Asia and Africa, with evidence and experience-based information. Experts from TMC and NCG volunteer their expert opinion in conjunction with the Navya system to empower cancer patients and treating oncologists from northeast to urban India, from Bangladesh to Mozambique, from remote cancer centers in Bihar to large hospitals in Delhi, from Below Poverty Line (BPL) card holders to affluent patients.
There is a real scarcity of cancer experts in India, located mostly in metropolitan cities, but the number of cancer patients in need of an expert opinion is in millions. It is estimated that there are around 1500 oncologists in India serving an affected population of approximately 24 lakhs, i.e. 1 oncologist for every 1600 cancer patients. Expert oncologists are even fewer, likely only a few hundred. This puts pressure on the system and many of those afflicted are unable to obtain timely access to an expert oncologist’s opinion. Traveling to consult an expert at each of the many treatment decision points is costly, logistically complex, and delays the onset of treatment.
“TMC and Navya have collaborated since 2011 to develop an expert decision system that uses clinical informatics, predictive analytics and machine learning to recommend evidence and experience-based expert treatment decisions, similar to decisions made by expert tumor boards,” said Dr Rajendra A. Badwe, Director of Tata Memorial Centre.
Navya’s technology system and clinical informatics helps connect patients to relevant clinical trials that they may benefit from. Navya also unlocks multiple treatment options that have worked in similar cases, through systematically archived medical record systems.
“Patients at small or remote centers will now have access to the world class expertise of cancer experts in India,” said Dr C.S. Pramesh, Coordinator of the National Cancer Grid. “Treating oncologists at non-expert centers can consult with experts online in a simulated tumor board that results in expert treatment decisions for patients everywhere. Treating oncologists or oncologists in training can learn to make expert-grade treatment decisions by using the Navya system and learning from the treatment decisions made by experts for their patients.”
“To access TMC NCG Online – Navya Expert Opinion Service, patients or treating oncologists simply register athttp://navyanetwork.com/tmcncg/ and upload the patient’s medical reports. A Navya patient advocate contacts them immediately. Navya’s decision system and TMC NCG experts suggest evidence and experience based treatment options. Within 1-2 days of uploading their medical reports, patients or treating oncologists receive the expert opinion report. They administer the treatment locally, enabling standardized high quality cancer care throughout the country,” said Gitika Srivastava, Founder of Navya.