online consultThere is some good news for cancer patients especially from Delhi/NCR, now cancer patients can consult expert oncologists online at Tata Memorial Centre (TMC).

TMC has partnered with Navya Network to launch an online consultation service called TMC Online. According to the news release, cancer patients from Delhi/NCR and anywhere else in India can now receive treatment recommendations from expert oncologists at Tata Memorial Centre through the online interface of the Navya Expert System.Navya Network, a clinical informatics and patient services company, has pioneered an expert decision system for cancer patients. The Navya Expert System empowers patients with evidence and experience based treatment options in collaboration with experts at Tata Memorial Centre.

Just Three Step Process

  1. Navya Analysts guide patients to upload reports necessary for an online opinion.
  2. TMC experts use the Navya Expert System to provide a treatment decision.
  3. Navya Analysts prepare a simply written expert opinion report backed by medical evidence, guidelines, experts, and patient preference considerations. Patients discuss this with their treating oncologists and jointly decide and undertake their treatment plan.

The need for “TMC Online” by cancer patients was validated with a limited launch in breast cancer in May 2014. Over 2,000 patients from India, South Asia, and other parts of the world registered for the service and over 660 expert opinions were provided by expert oncologists at TMC using the Navya Expert System. It offers online consultations for all types of cancers, including lung, oral, gynecologic, colon, blood, and pediatric. TMC Online “ Tata Memorial Centres Expert Opinion Service is accessible through the websites of TMC and Navya

Dr Rajendra A Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Centre

Dr Rajendra A Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Centre

“There are two major problems faced by patients in India and globally: access to care and cost-effective medicine. Access will be addressed through TMC Online – Expert Opinion Service, and cost-effective treatment is one of the key missions of Tata Memorial Centre, said Dr Rajendra A Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Centre.

Cutting through the boundaries of class and region, making cancer care accessible and affordable to one and all is TMC’s constant aim, and TMC Online is an endeavour to achieve this objective.

Further, it is important to provide uniform evidence-based decision-making across India, and TMC Online is a step towards it.  A major fall out of TMC and Navya’s efforts would be to prevent patient movement from far off places to metropolitan India to access evidence based expert treatment decisions.

There are a few hundred expert oncologists in India, mostly concentrated in a few metropolitan cities, but the number of cancer patients in need of expert treatment decisions is in the millions. Navya offers easy Web-based access to patients and care givers, a synoptic case summary presented to consulting experts, evidence based comparison with expert opinion, access to previous opinions offered with similar problems, and now an effort to add patient’s choices as consideration in decision making,” he added.

Over 60,000 patients are seen at TMC each year, which includes new patients as well as patients who visit or reach out for follow-up consultations and referrals. Patients from across India, South Asia, Africa, Middle East and South East Asia consult TMC experts for second opinions. These consultations are in the form of emails to the doctors or in-person visits. This is inefficient and expensive and, as a result, a very large number of patients are unable to receive expert opinions and treatment planning from TMC. TMC Online addresses this issue by making consultations with TMC experts accessible to everyone.

Making a decision for a cancer treatment is complex. There are multiple decision points throughout the course of a patient’s treatment, and those decisions when made in consult with an expert and reliable medical evidence can make all the difference in the strength, will, and focus with which a patient approaches his or her treatment. Patients and caregivers are left reassured that they are undergoing the best possible treatment that will combat this curveball of a situation. Navya will work to ensure that every cancer patient everywhere has this reassurance and access to high quality evidence based expert treatment decisions, said Gitika Srivastava, Founder, Navya Network.

The Navya Expert System was validated by Tata Memorial Centre in a trial in which the system generated treatment options that were 98.6-100 per cent similar to the recommendations of a panel of experts at TMC. These trial results were presented at the reputed San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December 2014, in the Patient Resources category. Navya is a clinically validated system for patients.

It takes an enormous amount of a doctors time to read all the reports, clarify questions with the patients, consult any colleagues or references that are needed, to even arrive at the point that a decision can be made.  The Navya Expert System has been designed to provide a structured snapshot to an expert with all of the relevant information that they need. Structure allows them to think and decide i.e. do what they do best “ make the final expert decision for the patient. This is the Navya approach, said Dr Naresh Ramarajan, Chief Medical Officer, Navya Network.

TMC Online “ Tata Memorial Centres Expert Opinion Service is currently priced at Rs. 5,000 for Indian patients residing in India, and $100 for international patients. However, Indian patients below poverty line are provided the service for free. The system and service can provide opinions to as many patients who demand an expert opinion.

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