During our work with oncologists and patient advocates / cancer survivors in Ukraine, our collaborators voiced a need for both up-to-date evidence-based cancer diagnosis and treatment guidelines and technical assistance to evaluate and improve the quality of cancer care in Ukraine.
Many cancer management guidelines, including those by the National Cancer Network (NCCN), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO), are less accessible to oncologists in Ukraine because they are only available in English. Other more specific guidelines, including UptoDate, are in English and require a paid costly subscription.
NCCN guidelines are routinely used at the National Cancer Institute in Ukraine and other regional cancer centers for systemic treatments that are available in-country. While regional cancer centers in Ukraine, as well as many private oncology clinics, use electronic health records, this data has not been used to evaluate wait times in the cancer diagnosis and treatment pathways, treatment concordance with evidence-based guidelines, and treatment outcomes. This information is essential in optimizing cancer care during the war with Russia, when many internally displaced persons have experienced delays and interruptions in cancer treatment. It will be equally if not more important for strengthening cancer care after Ukraine’s victory in the war.
GMKA is working to support oncologists and cancer patients in Ukraine by soliciting articles from experts in different subspecialties of cancer care related to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care for different cancers. These articles undergo a rigorous peer-review by GMKA section editors, are translated into Ukrainian by licensed medical translators, are posted on the GMKA website in English and Ukrainian, and are disseminated through social media and GMKA’s partners, including the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. Authors commit to updating articles periodically and if there are significant changes in the standard of care.
Our HealUA app has enabled connection of Ukrainian oncologists, including residents and fellows in training, to each other and subspecialty experts in Ukraine and other countries for consultation and sharing of experience. Over 1500 physicians from Ukraine have already joined this effort, with robust discussions about complex patient cases.
GMKA is working with partners Accenture and Palantir to drive innovation and quality improvement in cancer care. Palantir and Accenture donated software engineering capacity to extract data from e-Health to create user-friendly front-facing dashboards to compare patient volume and movement, wait times for different points in the cancer care pathway for specific cancers, and concordance of care with NCCN guidelines in Ukraine.
We envision that this multi-prong approach will result in impactful educational opportunities for oncologists and information for patients with cancer and their families and will ultimately lead to improved cancer care and policies in Ukraine and other countries around the world.