The Society Launches Formal Development of CancerLinQ

Dec 16, 2013

At a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy event on November 12, 2013, the Society announced that it had formally initiated development of the full CancerLinQ™ system, a groundbreaking health information technology (HIT) initiative to achieve higher quality, higher value cancer care with better outcomes for patients.

The multiphase development process will encompass a series of successively more powerful quality improvement tools for physicians, with the first components becoming available by early 2015. ASCO's move into the full build follows the successful completion of the CancerLinQ prototype, which demonstrated the feasibility of a HIT-based learning health system.1

"ASCO's prototype left no doubt that a learning health system in cancer care is possible," said ASCO President, Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP. "With development of the full system now underway, we believe we can enhance our contributions to better, smarter patient care within the next 18 months. By the time CancerLinQ is complete, we expect it will revolutionize cancer care and serve as a model for other areas of medicine."

The CancerLinQ prototype was completed in just eight months and included more than 170,000 de-identified medical records of patients with breast cancer provided by oncology practices around the United States. It demonstrated the feasibility of all major components of a learning health system and provided lessons that will guide ASCO's development of the full system.

The first components of CancerLinQ will center on providing next-generation quality measurement, and future components will encompass more powerful quality improvement tools, real-time clinical decision support, and analysis of thousands of patient experiences to create a continuous cycle of learning. ASCO is currently defining the functional requirements for the full system and will be issuing a request for proposal (RFP) in early 2014.

CancerLinQ Advisory Committee established

ASCO also announced that Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD, FACP, will Chair the new CancerLinQ Advisory Committee within the Institute for Quality, an ASCO affiliate that will guide this multiphase effort. The committee will advise on the design and implementation of the full system throughout its development.

Dr. Abernethy, a medical oncologist and palliative medicine physician, is a tenured Associate Professor in Duke University Schools of Medicine and Nursing, Director of the Duke Center for Learning Health Care in the Duke Clinical Research Institute, and Director of the Duke Cancer Care Research Program in the Duke Cancer Institute.

"CancerLinQ truly has the potential to transform the way we understand and treat cancer," said Dr. Abernethy. "I am excited to be part of a project where we can improve the quality of cancer care for all patients by learning from each of them."

The Institute will also be establishing additional, sector-specific subcommittees of external advisors to provide more perspectives as CancerLinQ is developed and implemented. Future groups will include patient and physician advisory subcommittees, as well as a technology advisory subcommittee.

For more information on this exciting program, visit

1. IOM Fact Sheet, 2012. The Learning Health System Series: Continuous improvement and innovation in health and health care

ASCO also continues to seek financial support for CancerLinQ™ through the Conquer Cancer Foundation. To date, the Foundation has raised $7.8 million in major commitments, including generous contributions from Amgen; Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation; Genentech BioOncology™; Helsinn Therapeutics (US), Inc.; Lilly; Novartis Oncology; Susan G. Komen®; and numerous individual supporters including: Raj Mantena, RPh; Thomas G. Roberts, Jr., MD; and Susan M. DaSilva, NP. To donate, visit


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