Torrie Fields: Collecting and Using Data Can Better Inform a Patient

April 12, 2018

The more data providers have on a patient, the better understanding they have about the type of treatment plan that works best with the patient’s goals, explained Torrie K. Fields, MPH, senior program manager of Palliative Care Program Design & Implementation for Blue Shield of California.

The more data providers have on a patient, the better understanding they have about the type of treatment plan that works best with the patient’s goals, explained Torrie K. Fields, MPH, senior program manager of Palliative Care Program Design & Implementation for Blue Shield of California.

Transcript

What is needed for data collection and utilization in healthcare to be considered successful?

There are a couple of different things that you would need. First, how is that patient actually responding? Two, the course of treatment. How does that actually affect the course of treatment, itself? So, how does it actually affect the site that you’re focusing on? And then, also, what’s really important to collect is information about what that patient actually wants. So, the focus on making sure that patient is an equal decision maker in their care, and the documentation of what a patient wants and what matters to them in terms of the quality of their life, and not just the quality of their care.

In what ways will data collection and utilization optimize care and outcomes for patients?

When you actually know what works for a patient, the more data you have, in order to understand that, it moves the decision making from a judgement or a one-off decision for a patient into a pathway that you know can be more effective for that patient and patient experience. So, it starts to take the guesswork out of that course of treatment for a patient. That, ultimately, improves the quality of life, the quality of the course of treatment for that patient,

How can data help integrate palliative care into oncology practice?

I have seen a number of interesting ways that data has helped include palliative care. Palliative care is pain and symptom management for people who are living with a serious illness, and it can be provided alongside that course of treatment.

When you’re able to integrate those 2 things by, say, placing a trigger for a patient with advanced disease so they can have a conversation early in their course of treatment about pain and symptoms. That allows an oncologist to really effect clinical decision making, to make sure they understand what the patient’s goals are, and it can actually inform the treatment path for that patient. Sometimes that might mean that a patient would fall outside of a pathway, because they have different goals of care than another patient, and that helps an oncologist really understand what a patient wants and needs, even if they’re going to survive from that cancer. And especially if they’re going to survive from that cancer.

What it allows for is the judgement to be moved from the clinical decisions that you’re making about a patient’s treatment, to understanding more about what matters in terms of the quality of life for that patient and family.