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City of Hope Advances Cancer Care With Hybrid Telehealth and In-person Visits



City of Hope, based near Los Angeles, is a research and treatment organization for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. In 2018, it made strategic moves to more easily meet the needs of its patients and communities by investing in telehealth.

Part of that strategic direction was working with technology companies to ensure that City of Hope leveraged telehealth in a high-quality, patient-centric way, while easing the burden of travel times for patients undergoing treatment. With every visit, the organization’s team evaluates whether patients are best served by either a virtual or an in-person appointment.


Then COVID-19 emerged. Suddenly, City of Hope needed to rapidly scale its telehealth infrastructure to meet the needs of patients. In doing so, its work with telemedicine technology and services vendor Amwell helped the healthcare provider organization reimagine the delivery of oncology services.

“For example, when a physician delivers a cancer diagnosis to a patient, it can be a lot easier to do so when the patient is at home, in a space that feels comfortable, surrounded by family,” noted Dr. Paul Fu, chief medical information officer at City of Hope.

“At a time when the American Cancer Society estimates 87% of cancer patients and survivors had their care disrupted due to the coronavirus, City of Hope offered uninterrupted cancer care and used telehealth when appropriate to evaluate patients, manage side effects of treatment, review labs and scans, answer questions, and offer reassurance to patients and their families.”

Even when patients came in person, City of Hope used telehealth to include family members and other members of a patient’s care team seamlessly in the visits. It’s an approach that has enabled the organization to more easily and conveniently surround patients with specialized cancer care and eliminate unnecessary travel.

“Moving forward, City of Hope envisions expanding our use of telehealth to include services such as telegenetic consultations, remote chemotherapy support, remote monitoring using wearables, expedited condition triage and palliative care,” Fu said.

“By fully addressing each patient’s needs, we’re making a deep impact on personalized patient care and satisfaction.”


Prior to working with Amwell, City of Hope delivered telehealth services, but the technology it used was not integrated with other systems, leaving room for an improved care journey for patients and providers.

“We started with Amwell by launching our patient app to enable virtual connections between our patients and their providers,” Fu explained. “Since launching our app, we’ve been able to rapidly scale up our telehealth program both in terms of patients and providers using it and in terms of use cases and modalities.

“We’ve also been able to integrate the platform with other systems we have in place to improve the patient experience,” he continued. “These were key elements – scalability and integration capabilities – that we looked for in selecting our telehealth provider as we knew we would want to grow the program.”


There is a wide variety of telehealth technology and services vendors on the health IT market today. Healthcare IT News published a special report listing these vendors and details about their offerings. Click here to read the special report.


Having a well-integrated telehealth platform enabled City of Hope to develop consistent workflows around telehealth that supported an enhanced patient experience. Further, an integrated platform allows the organization to track telehealth visits within the same quality improvement framework that it uses for in-person visits.

“We integrated the Amwell platform with our Epic EHR to provide a more seamless experience for patients and our provider teams,” Fu noted. “Now, physicians can simply click a video icon in Epic to get to the telehealth screen and start their session.

“Before each visit, nurses or medical assistants initiate the session, talking with patients to gather the information needed to inform the session. When an interpreter is needed, the platform makes it easy to incorporate these services during a live session with the click of a button.”

City of Hope also uses the Doximity Dialer to facilitate patient telephone calls straight from the Epic Haiku mobile app with a caller ID registered to City of Hope. This gives patients a greater feeling of trust from the start of the call, knowing that the telehealth call is a legitimate service coming from their healthcare institution.

“Another crucial technology feature is the ability to easily bring other members of the care team into the video encounter,” Fu said. “It’s not uncommon for our patients to have a person they want to be involved in the discussion, such as a family member or other caregiver – even interpreters can be added to visits. This feature, which allows the sharing of screens, significantly enhances satisfaction among our patients.

“However, what really makes our telehealth service unique is the network of services the patient receives via telehealth,” he continued. “City of Hope offers concierge-like specialized healthcare services that help patients navigate their care journey and gain answers to questions about medication management, alternative treatments that can reduce side effects and more.”

The organization also connects patients with supportive care services that deliver in-person support when needed, such as when patients face mobility issues or when child life specialists can work with the children of adult patients or the siblings of pediatric patients.


“We looked at several different success metrics and largely chose to focus on process measures, including how likely patients are to recommend our telehealth services,” Fu said. “We also looked at the number of successful completions to ensure our process and the use of the technology was easy for patients, as well as satisfaction with the use of telehealth services.

“We’re now beginning to look at health outcomes achieved via telehealth,” he added. “Early data show that similar to many organizations, cancer screening procedures dropped during the pandemic, but we observed that the decrease was uneven across specialties.”

To measure clinical outcomes, City of Hope is tracking its patients as well as referrals into its system who had delayed screening. Based on the data it receives, City of Hope continually refines and improves its virtual care services to meet patients’ needs, Fu said.


“When launching or expanding a telehealth program, ensure patients are kept at the center,” Fu advised. “Telehealth services should be deployed in such a way that they cause the least amount of stress for patients, especially those who are dealing with complex conditions.

“This can be achieved by mapping out the patient journey for both virtual and in-person care and looking for opportunities to strengthen care coordination and management, the quality of care that patients receive, and more.”

Even during the madness of the first months of COVID-19, City of Hope’s patient-centric approach to cancer care, including use of telemedicine, strengthened its ability to optimize patient outcomes, improve the patient experience and provide uninterrupted cancer care, Fu added.

“Our telemedicine use is just one of the ways City of Hope has expanded our reach beyond patients in the Los Angeles area,” he concluded.

“We reach cancer patients around the globe, including those taking part in clinical trials. In an era of digitally augmented patient care, a continual focus on meeting a patient’s holistic care needs will become a competitive differentiator for healthcare providers.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
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Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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Singapore’s Public Health System Rolling Out the Clinician’s ZEDOC Platform



Singapore’s health tech agency Integrated Health Information Systems has partnered with Auckland-headquartered digital health firm The Clinician to deploy a patient-reported outcome and experience measures platform across the island state’s public healthcare system.


The Clinician’s ZEDOC platform, the company describes, assists healthcare providers in managing patient-generated health data outside the hospital through digitisation. Integrated with HIS, the system supports timely exchange of health data and information between providers and patients, including subjective PROMs and PREMs, objective wearable device data, and other communication or educational materials. By streamlining the digital collection of critical health data, ZEDOC is able to render real-time, actionable information crucial for improving health outcomes and experiences.

The partners are working on multiple ZEDOC integrations with existing health information systems (HIS). A privacy-preserving hybrid infrastructure has been implemented which ensures that all personally identifiable information stays within the IHiS’s private health cloud while all anonymised health data are collected through a secure commercial cloud platform.


Singapore intends to measure and improve health outcomes and patient experience with the rollout of The Clinician’s ZEDOC platform. Their partnership will “bolster patient engagement and enable clinicians to more effectively assess patients’ health status before, during and after receiving a health service – closing the loop when they are outside the hospital,” said The Clinician CEO Dr Ron Tenenbaum. It will also allow providers to deliver “more holistic and personalised care for patients by taking into account their perspectives for the first time,” he added.

To demonstrate the benefit of routine collection and analysis of PROMs, The Clinician shared that this has resulted in over 50% reduction in 90-day complications for hip and knee surgery patients in one study and a five-month improvement in the survival of cancer patients in another.

Among benefits for care providers, the ZEDOC integration will replace existing paper-based forms with an integrated digital platform that automates data capture, as well as benchmark outcomes across providers to reduce variability and waste. For patients, they can become more involved in the treatment decision-making and be informed early of health risks and warning signs.


Last month, Cabrini Health and The Alfred, two of the largest healthcare providers in the Australian state of Victoria, deployed the ZEDOC platform to automate the collection and analysis of health data from colorectal cancer patients. The installation is said to adhere to the colorectal cancer standards outlined by the International Consortium of Health Outcomes Measurement.

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EU Analysis Highlights Digital Health Lessons From COVID-19



An EU analysis has outlined the effect of COVID-19 on healthcare systems in Europe and the role of digital innovation in building their resilience.

Experts from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Observatory have published a set of 29 country health profiles, covering all EU member states, as well as Iceland and Norway. A companion report also highlights a selection of cross-country trends.

Speaking at a virtual launch event on Monday (13 December), Josep Figueras, director, European Observatory, highlighted two main lessons learnt from the use of technology in the pandemic.

Using telemedicine as an example of digital health innovation, he said the number of teleconsultations had increased in all EU countries during 2020. However in some countries, such as France, teleconsultations had decreased when lockdowns ended.

“The key issue here is how we harness and sustain innovation – how we make sure that these improvements in the use of telemedicine (as an illustration of the use of other digital technologies) can be maintained and sustained to increase the effectiveness of the health system,” Figueras said.

He also highlighted that the technology for telemedicine and other innovations was already available in many European countries before the pandemic but was not being used.

Figueras asked: “What did we do within the pandemic that literally within a couple of weeks, we got all this telemedicine in place?”

To sustain the use of telemedicine and other health technologies, he said it was important to look at the regulatory measures, financial incentives, training and changes in culture needed.

“Something the pandemic has taught us loudly and clearly is the importance of digital innovation – not only the new technologies, but the ability to implement them,” Figueras added.


The State of Health in the EU cycle is a two-year process initiated by the European Commission in 2016, designed to improve country-specific and EU-wide knowledge in healthcare.

It aims to gather data and in-depth analyses on health systems and make the information accessible to policy makers and stakeholders.


During the pandemic, digital tools have been used in the EU to boost public health measures such as the implementation of the EU Digital COVID Certificate, vaccination booking systems, and cross-border interoperability for contact-tracing apps.

There has also been investment in EU-wide COVID recovery initiatives such as the EU4Health programme.


Maya Matthews, head of unit performance, European Commission said: “COVID-19 illuminated the fact that in many European countries we do not have a strong public health system. We cannot do testing and tracing. Even surveillance is done sometimes in a very fragmented fashion.

“I think if one thing comes out of COVID-19, it’s to say that public health matters – that public health is a very important part of health systems and has not really received the attention it deserves.”

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Clinical Messaging Platform Hospify to Close, Bupa Arabia Invests in Global Ventures, and More News Briefs



Clinical messaging platform Hospify to close

British healthtech startup Hospify has announced it will close its secure clinical messaging platform on 31 January 2021.

Hospify said it suffered a decline in demand after the government suspended the UK 2018 Data Protection Act in relation to healthcare last year for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also cited difficulties caused by “post-Brexit uncertainties surrounding the future of the UK’s data adequacy agreement with the EU”.

A statement from the Hospify team says: “It’s a sad end to a wonderful vision, a vision of universal health care communication that was both free of data exploitation and free at the point of use.”

Insurance giant Bupa Arabia invests in Global Ventures

UAE-based international venture capital firm Global Ventures has announced new investment from Bupa Arabia, the leading health insurance company in the region.

Bupa Arabia’s participation in Global Ventures Fund II as strategic partner aims to foster the healthcare ecosystem in the region and particularly in Saudi Arabia.

The investment is part of the Bupa Arabia’s strategy to participate and invest in disruptive healthcare and insurance technologies, amongst other targeted growth sectors.

Noor Sweid, Global Ventures founder and general partner, said: “Bupa Arabia shares our outlook and ambition on the digital health sector, and its potential for technology and innovation to deliver long-term economic benefits particularly in emerging markets.”

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital achieves EMRAM Stage 6

Specialist NHS trust Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital (LHCH) has been awarded Stage 6 of the EMRAM, or Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model, by HIMSS.

The EMRAM measures the adoption and maturity of a health facility’s inpatient EMR capabilities from 0 to 7. Achieving Stage 6 means the trust has established clear goals for improving safety, minimising errors, and recognising the importance of healthcare IT.

Kate Warriner, chief digital and information officer said: “Digital excellence must be the cornerstone if we are to continually improve the care that we provide for our patients in the years ahead. Therefore, whilst we are rightly proud of this achievement, we have ambitions for further pioneering innovation and advancing our use of technology to become a Stage 7 hospital.”

More than $110m raised by Sheba’s ARC Innovation Center

Israel’s Sheba Medical Center has announced that six companies from its Accelerate Redesign Collaborate (ARC) Innovation Center raised more than $110 million (EUR97.2m) in 2021.

ARC brings new technologies into the hospital and community ecosystem focusing on digital health technologies including precision medicine, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analytics, telemedicine and mobile health.

Sheba MedTech startups receiving investments this year included: Aidoc, BELKIN Laser, Starget Pharma Append Medical, Innovalve Bio Medical and TechsoMed.

Professor Eyal Zimlichman, ARC director and founder, said: “The ARC Innovation Center has been focusing on ground-breaking, innovative technologies with a prime directive to redesign healthcare.”

Konica Minolta named as part of NHS Digital Documents Solutions framework

Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd has been named as one of 46 suppliers on the new ?5 billion Digital Documents Solutions framework.

The firm will provide solutions across five key areas: internal print, external print, digital mail room, scanning and electronic document management solutions.

Jason Barnes, head of public sector, Konica Minolta, said: “Having been chosen through a competitive tender process, we are especially pleased to be newly appointed to the LPP framework, which deepens and furthers our reach into the NHS health sector.”

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