Lung cancer screening rates remain extremely low. In 2015, less than 4 percent of people eligible for lung cancer screening received it,according to a 2017 study published in JAMA Oncology and cited by the American Cancer Society.
So how can providers discern the truly useful solutions? If you know the right features to look for, you can answer that question. Here are the seven key attributes of a fully-functional, modern lung cancer screening system.
1: Natural Language Processing (NLP)
Many medical records are stored without the “structure” necessary for medical software to utilize the information they contain. Natural language processing changes that situation: it can process raw records for key phrases and language, examining data that would otherwise be unusable to extract meaningful information. And NLP works for data capture, too. A 2016 study found that NLP systems took approximately a third of the time as standard medical documentation methods.
2: Eligibility Search
The software solution should be able to search the entire patient population – pulling data from radiology reports and other medical records – to identify those that should participate in Lung Cancer Screening. Ideally, the system should be able to use information that’s already there, without requiring any more data input from radiologists. Using NLP, the system should help determine the size of nodules and apply appropriate criteria to make specific recommendations.
Why limit the solution to just lungs? The system should also be able to extend to other services. If it can scan for Lung Cancer Screening eligibility, it should be able to scan for neck, chest, spine, and ABD CT, generating automated alerts and triggers with follow-up criteria based on Fleischner Society, LungRads, etc. as well as criteria to meet CMS standards.
4. User experience (UX)
Quality software should be developed with the end user in mind. In other words, find a solution that invests in making the system simple, straightforward, and useful. You should be able to consume information and find answers quickly and easily. Today, the majority of organizations are considering and planning for UX early in the development process. Your Lung Cancer Screening software provider should be doing this too.
Co-creation, when applied to software, means that the program continues to evolve and grow with ongoing customization. Technology Innovation Management Review writes that software companies no longer act as a “one-way street” when it comes to designing their product. With co-creation, consumers are taking increasingly active roles in the creation of their software’s value. Through outreach, feedback, and a spirit of collaboration, the software provider can improve outcomes and continually optimize user experience based on user input and participation.
6. Software as a Service (SaaS)
You may already be accustomed to SaaS products at home, like Netflix. A cloud-based software system is accessible anytime, anywhere, and often from any smart device. You should expect the same kind of functionality in your screening software. Look for low monthly fee (that can be cancelled at any time), no upgrade or server fees, and subject to appropriate, HIPPA-compliant security controls. SaaS products also eliminate the need for onsite IT support and additional expenses for servers or other infrastructure.
7. Workflow Optimization
Last, but not least, your screening software should have no impact on the clinician’s workflow. Put simply, the radiologist should not need a second workstation for reporting. A 2016 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that for every hour of clinical face time with a patient, physicians spend nearly two additional hours on EHR and desk work. In other words, practitioners already spend too much time on data entry and record-keeping. Your solution for Lung Cancer Screening software should not add to that burden.