Oncology-Specific EHR Options
By Cary A. Presant, MD, FACP1, Linda Bosserman, MD, FACP1, Wendy McNatt1, Brandon Emilio1
1Wilshire Oncology Medical Group, La Verne, California
To date, several different types of electronic health records (EHRs) have been useful in the medical oncology setting. Of the oncology-specific EHRs on the market, two—ARIA® (Varian) and MOSAIQ® (IMPAC)—are owned by radiation therapy equipment makers. Both have oncology modules that are highly detailed and integrated with their associated radiation therapy EHR. Both require servers for data, although practices interested in these EHRs could network to share servers, programming, and IT support.
Another oncology-specific EHR, the IKnowMed system used by US Oncology, is programmed centrally and standardized across all user practices. McKesson’s ASP-type EHR, Altos, has all the programmable entry options of Varian’s ARIA. Because Altos is an ASP model, the system does not require as much IT support onsite for servers and back-ups. Other EHR systems can be customized for medical oncology practice use; but—compared to oncology-specific systems that are updated for the growing number of oncology diagnoses, AJCC staging, and tumor features which correlate with therapies and outcomes—keeping a non–oncology-specific system up to date will require far more IT support. Several hospital systems, which do not have as many of the oncology capabilities as the Varian or IMPAC systems, could interface with an HL7 compliant system in a practice. (HL7 is the national standard for digital communication.)