J Am Med Inform Assoc doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2013-002346
  • Perspective

Improving the quality of cancer care in America through health information technology

  1. Patricia A Ganz4,5
  1. 1The Institute for Cancer Care Innovation, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
  2. 2Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA
  3. 3National Cancer Policy Forum, The Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC, USA
  4. 4Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  5. 5Schools of Medicine and Public Health, Los Angeles, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Thomas W Feeley, Division of Anesthesiology, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1400 Holcombe Blvd, Unit 409, Houston, TX 77030, USA;
  • Received 11 September 2013
  • Accepted 4 November 2013
  • Published Online First 18 December 2013


A recent report from the Institute of Medicine titled Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis, identifies improvement in information technology (IT) as essential to improving the quality of cancer care in America. The report calls for implementation of a learning healthcare IT system: a system that supports patient–clinician interactions by providing patients and clinicians with the information and tools necessary to make well informed medical decisions and to support quality measurement and improvement. While some elements needed for a learning healthcare system are already in place for cancer, they are incompletely implemented, have functional deficiencies, and are not integrated in a way that creates a true learning healthcare system. To achieve the goal of a learning cancer care delivery system, clinicians, professional organizations, government, and the IT industry will have to partner, develop, and incentivize participation.

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