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Navigating the blizzard: Connecting cancer specialists with curated, customized content

2016 is on pace to be another record year for new cancer articles in the literature — 143,034 at the time of this writing. That’s 630 articles every weekday. And that’s just the medical journal articles. Add to that the thousands of annually produced abstracts presented at oncology meetings, FDA releases, guidelines changes, and all the rest and you have a true information blizzard for practicing oncologists to weather.

“Never have we experienced the rate of change we are experiencing in oncology currently. There’s constantly new information being generated,” said Dr. Lincoln Nadauld*, an oncologist who lectures nationally about using health information technology to improve quality of care outcomes.

To keep up with the onslaught of data, oncologists seek information targeted specifically to their needs instead of having to sift through it, summarize and interpret on their own, Dr. Nadauld said.

There’s hope. Oncology is the newest specialty receiving customized content from Univadis, billed as the world’s largest healthcare professional community with more than 3 million members across 63 specialties in 90 countries. On a daily and weekly basis, cancer care specialists can access a newly available resource -  Univadis’ Clinical Essentials. These “essentials” are snapshot expert summaries culled from the best medical, trade and business journals, association and government websites and other sources.

The reason for the hope is that Univadis — which is owned and operated by Aptus Health — is trying a new approach to identifying and summarizing only the most clinically relevant emerging information. The approach employs a team of experts – physicians, pharmacists, and medical writers – to apply a standardized algorithm aimed at surfacing new information that is  most valuable to the specialists.

Those experts then review the identified papers and presentations and extract a bullet-point summary of the essential facts. The results are made available to oncologists via email every day, said Stephen Smith, Vice President of Univadis Strategy for Aptus Health. In addition to the global Univadis platform, Aptus Health offers a wide range of other products and services focusing on healthcare professional education and awareness, as well as consumer health information. 

“[Univadis is] a unique curation service that identifies how to filter from the blizzard of information what is essential from a clinical side and parallels that with 5- to 7-minute educational, audio-visual pieces,” Smith said. He described the service as a personal assistant “deciding what you would have looked at and should be looking at if you had the time…distilled into something you can digest.”

The pain of information overload is real and digital solutions that do more than contribute to “too much information” are beginning to emerge. In fact, data from Decision Resource Group’s Manhattan Research report shows that Aptus Health’s destinations, including Univadis, are among the top three resources HCPs cited for accessing medical education.

Addressing subspecialties with the content that resonates

A recent survey of 250 U.S. health care professionals (including oncologists, dermatologists, pathologists, urologists and other cancer specialists) on Aptus Health’s web and mobile communities highlighted some of the diverse interests and experiences specialists have. For example, pathologists (80%) are more interested in diagnostic information than oncologists (59%). NPs and PAs (nearly 60%) are more interested in patient support than are oncologists (43%).

The results make sense if you consider the practical aspects of each treater’s role in treating cancer, said Smith, who heads Aptus Health’s content development strategy for its healthcare professional digital communities.

A medical oncologist may be “less interested in the exact mutational description and more in the question of how to tailor treatment to that particular patient. So the pathologists need to be expert in application of available diagnostic studies and the oncologist needs to be expert in interpreting the diagnosis for the patient’s course of therapy.”

Understanding the nuances of these specialties matters when it comes to promoting clinical content. After all, there’s enough information out there already vying for specialists’ time and attention.  The goal isn’t to add to the noise—it’s to break through it with relevant, valuable content that supports better patient care.

For more information, contact [email protected] .

*Dr. Nadauld is not associated with Univadis or Aptus Health