Swiss drug giant Novartis has announced the launch of two new joint working projects with national Cancer Vanguard sites, which aim to determine novel ways of boosting patient care pathways and access to services.

The projects will be based at The Christie in Greater Manchester and within the UCLH Cancer Collaborative region (north and east London), collectively covering a catchment population of around 6.9 million people.

Under the banner of optimising working practices and addressing variations in care to secure the best outcomes, both projects intend to use data analytics to generate new insights and thus improve cancer patients’ experiences.

The project with the UCLH Cancer Collaborative will use Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) level balanced scorecards to capture service outcomes data for breast, lung, lymphoma, melanoma, and prostate cancer patient pathways.

The data set is to include information on cancer patients’ waiting times versus targets, the number of patients diagnosed with cancer, and the proportion of patients being prescribed chemotherapy and receiving it at home, but no patient or clinical information will be disclosed.

As information from these pathways is not currently captured under one source, and varies between providers, NHS and Novartis are jointly funding two project analysts to manage the project and to compare data from the MDT scorecards to service standards in NICE treatment guidelines, in the hope of enhancing patient care pathways and better personalising care.

The project with The Christie NHS Foundation Trust seeks to address care pathway inconsistencies in breast cancer.

The team is partnering with information and tech group IQVIA to analyse current breast cancer pathways and identify opportunities to improve care. One aspect will be evaluating relevant anonymised healthcare data to establish the current state of treatment pathways across Greater Manchester, in order to better understand variations in access to care.

The groups will also analyse patient journeys by enabling patients to record their experiences of treatment pathways through the use of technology provided by the app uMotif.

According to Novartis findings from the project should lead to improvements in the timeliness of treatment interventions for patients, while helping to steer resource efforts to help reduce any variation in access to treatment.

If successful, the models and recommendations generated by these two projects could be implemented more widely and potentially rolled out nationally, providing a standard for best practice, the drug giant noted.

“Our partnerships with the NHS are of paramount importance as we work towards our shared goal of improving treatment pathways and care for cancer patients,” said Mari Scheiffele, Oncology general manager, at Novartis UK & Ireland. “Pooling resources to identify areas for improvement and possible solutions helps to ensure patients receive the best possible outcomes.”