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Multi-site Cancer Data Collection System

Unit-specific UIF funds will support programming, and technical and organizational support to implement the Otobase software system in multiple clinical research sites. The Otobasesystem was developed initially to support national multi-institutional clinical trials related to head and neck cancer. Based on input from a beta trial of the system sponsored by the American Head and Neck Society, a condensed version was also designed to support smaller projects conducted by solo practitioners, or small departments/divisions that lack data entry personnel and systems support. The design, documentation, and beta trial are complete and the revised system ("Otolite") is operational and in active use.

UIF support will be used to expand the use of Otobaseand Otolite to collect data needed for a variety of clinical research programs. UIF support will also allow modifications of the system to make it operational in the participating offices, clinics, operating rooms, and other settings. Although developed for cancer research, the system is not limited to a single disease. The core of the database can be modified to suit other areas of clinical investigation.

The overall goal of this project is to prove the concept that Otobasecan be expanded for use with other cancer and clinical research projects. If successful, the system, including its condensed version (Otolite) could be licensed to external entities to support clinical trials.

The system will be developed in close coordination with the Medical Center's Information Systems, Tumor Registry, and the clinical cancer data management subcommittee of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). The Otobase system and the proposed project are widely endorsed within the UW Academic Medical Center. The UWMC Clinical Cancer Committee, after analyzing available commercial systems, recommended that Otobase be expanded to meet the needs of the UW Cancer Registry.

Interactive clinical data collection has potential to solidify and expand the AMC's research, education, and patient care activities. Providing access to a system such as Otobase highlights our commitment to shared responsibility for cancer care and regional leadership in clinical research.

The expanded use of the Otobase system will mitigate a key impediment to clinical research within the AMC, i.e., the absence of an effective data collection mechanism. The system relies on simplified data entry and automated data checks that will reduce the cost of data collection. The condensed version of the system (Otolite) will provide an effective underpinning for the regional clinical trials network envisioned by the SCCA.

Insurers and other purchasers of health care services are increasingly interested in treatment outcomes. This is particularly true in high cost services such as cancer care. The cost of cancer treatment comprises between 20-25 percent of the health care purchasing dollar. As a major provider of cancer care, the AMC and the SCCA must provide the leadership in developing information systems that support outcome-based purchaser's benefit and contracting decisions. The Otobase system should provide an institution-wide mechanism for collecting such data.

The Otobase system was developed by, and intended to be used by practicing physicians. As such, it is an excellent educational tool to familiarize physicians in training with the use of medical informatics to support outcome-based patient care. This will be a core competency required of all physicians in the next quarter-century. Thus, the use of unit-specific UIF funds will enhance the informatics infrastructure for clinical research across the Academic Medical Center and will provide support for information technology changes needed for teaching programs for health professionals.

Contact: Paul Ramsey, MD
Vice President for Medical Affairs and
Dean of the School of Medicine
Allocation: $346,060
Date Funded: February 2000