Marie E Lamont
President/COO of Inteliquet
The only way for a new therapy to reach patients is through a clinical trial. For cancer patients, that new therapy may represent new hope for a longer and better-quality life—hope for a treatment that might prove to be more effective than the current standard of care. Unfortunately, today’s clinical research can be inefficient. These inefficiencies cost the healthcare system billions of dollars each year, but they also delay much-needed treatment options getting to patients and the providers who care for them.
Today, enrollment to clinical trials remains the most difficult part of the process, which is in large part why >40% of clinical trials don’t meet enrollment goals and a meager 3-5% of cancer patients participate in trials. That’s not good enough. What’s more, since the United States’ first coronavirus case was confirmed in January 2020, the situation has been exacerbated. Hospitals and healthcare practices focused on acute care of infected patients and,
in general, patient appointments, screening, diagnostic testing, and non-essential surgeries were delayed or reconsidered. Many biopharma companies recognized this and began to delay or stop cancer clinical trials altogether. The companies were behind before COVD-19. Now, they have even more ground to make up.
More clinical trials need to be available to patients to make targeted therapies more of a reality for existing and future cancer patients. Targeted therapies are an important choice for physicians and patients. Removing or delaying this important choice creates risk for patients who would like to have the option and delays scientific advancement. The Inteliquet™ solution is unique in its ability to work securely behind the firewall of Cancer Centers and—using precision technology and sophisticated data analysis—more completely and rapidly aggregate and analyze clinically relevant healthcare data from the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and other data sources. This results in dramatic efficiencies at every step of the clinical trial process.
Providing Intelligent Technology
Cancer clinical trials have increasingly complex inclusion and exclusion criteria. Traditional methods rely on interrogating the EMR, which does not always contain all the data needed to match patients. The EMR is a reliable source for what’s known as structured data, but that data doesn’t always provide a full picture of a patient’s health. It is estimated that up to 80% of the data in an EMR is unstructured. Trial criteria is a complex combination of disease, stage, morphology, lab, genomics, and molecular data points. When cancer center staff try to ascertain if patients match these inclusion requirements, they must often spend hours manually reviewing unstructured data from sources such as physician notes and lab and pathology reports to augment that structured data.
Senior Vice President, Life Sciences
Tandy R. Tipps
Senior Vice President, Healthcare Solutions
Inteliquet digitizes, normalizes, and analyzes all forms of patient data to match cancer patient populations and specific patients to clinical trial opportunities faster and more completely. Less manual labor and better data streamlines the process and reduces inefficiencies associated with manually tracking down data. Ultimately, this enables patients to be more rapidly enrolled in clinical trials. That’s why Inteliquet’s tagline is “How New Therapies Reach Patients Faster.”
Inteliquet began with ground-breaking technology from the Van Andel Institute and first developed a business information system for oncology translational medicine labs, and they were known as TransMed System. In 2016, the organization began a technology pivot to meet an unmet need in oncology and began building the underlying infrastructure and platform for an unparalleled and comprehensive patient matching technology for oncology studies. In 2018, the OncWeb™ platform was pilot launched for patient matching. “We are now approaching our fourth year of full service for patient matching and will continuously enhance and evolve the platform to follow changes in standard of care and to meet the needs of clinical development and the study environment,” says Marie E. Lamont, President & COO of Inteliquet.
At Inteliquet, they begin and end with the ultimate goal—improving cancer clinical trials and patients’ access to life-saving therapies through superior data and patient matching. Patient matching provides physicians and their patients with clinical trials as a treatment option. “Yes, it is true that biopharma can design and conduct more efficient research. And oncologists have more access to treatment options as soon as possible. However, we know that everything we do needs to help fast-track connections between new cancer therapies and the patients who need them. That is what drives us every day, and it is the core of our solution development process,” explains Marie. “We don’t innovate for innovation’s sake. We maintain a laser focus on innovation that makes a tremendous impact—reducing barriers to harnessing the data needed to improve oncology clinical research for all stakeholders, especially the patient.”
It is easy for organizations to get caught up in the hype around many AI solutions. The challenge of using these technologies in their solution is not in developing the computing power or fancy algorithms. That’s the easy part. “Our focus as oncology innovators is on solutions that fit seamlessly into the clinical setting—tools that physicians and their staff will actually use. That’s the key to generating patient data, which is the engine that will drive life-saving technology across the health care system,” adds Marie.
The company’s self-service technology securely identifies more eligible patients for trials, more accurately understands patient populations, and helps to inform care decisions better and determine a site’s suitability when considering a specific trial. Their OncWeb clinical trial patient matching solution is easily accessible and seamlessly integrated into a cancer center’s existing workflows. Within the platform, two essential applications work to optimize the clinical research patient feasibility and matching processes.
The Inteliquery™ application features specialized, custom filters that can rapidly help a site identify if they have the right patient population to support a trial. With better population insights, it’s easier and faster to determine if a practice has the patient base to support a proposed trial. The process of assessing patient feasibility for a sponsor’s clinical trial is traditionally time-sensitive and produces less than optimal results. Sometimes, it causes a Cancer Center to open trials, only to find that they cannot identify or enroll enough patients. Sometimes a sponsor might close down the site because it couldn’t bring any patients to the trial. Or, sites might decline studies and discover later that they had indeed had patients considered for a particular trial. The negative effect on the organization’s clinical sites is significant, from lost productivity and revenue to a negative impact on reputation and missed opportunities for patients and providers.
Inteliquery can revolutionize this process by reducing the time it takes to free up resources to dedicate to patient care and increasing the completeness of the results, so only the right trials are opened in the first place. Used alongside Inteliquery ,Inteliscreen™ is a powerful application that assists users with patient recruitment efforts, including pre-screening, tracking, reporting, and communication. It matches patients by viewing the details of local patients’ who may be eligible to take part in clinical trials. “And because we digitize the clinical trial protocol, ingest all the data needed to match to the trial protocol, and conduct nightly automated screening, we can identify potentially eligible patients more rapidly and more completely,” elucidates Marie. “This also enables placing patients who may not be currently eligible on a Watch List to monitor for disease progression. That way, physicians and research staff can better engage more efficiently with patients to inform them of potential trials.”
Adaptive Technologies of the Future
Marie and her team focus on adaptive technology that can keep pace with healthcare data’s ever-changing landscape. Among these are AI-related technologies, such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and sophisticated heuristic parsers to extract data from unstructured data. They also employ Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to convert hand-written text or images of text to usable data and a patented ETL solution for fast data extraction and high-quality integration. The team ensures their solutions are highly scalable and secure and can conform disparate data into a unified schema. “We truly are EMR- and data-source agnostic, which is a huge differentiator from other solutions,” she says.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, one Cancer Center knew they needed to alter their processes to ensure they were continuing to support finding cancer patients for clinical trials. These adjustments led to them enrolling three times as many patients in just five months compared to the previous five months using traditional methods. Once they implemented the OncWeb software platform and began working with Inteliquet’s dedicated clinical engagement specialist, the center enrolled ten patients from March to June 2020–a 233% increase from the first five months. From April 2020 to January 2021, the site enrolled another 20 patients. In all, they were able to enroll 30 patients into trial during a pandemic.
That same Cancer Center reduced the time needed to conduct Feasibility Survey Questionnaires (FSQs) by more than 90% and with greater accuracy. The manual process added one to two full extra days of work to the staff’s already overflowing workload. By working with Inteliquet and using the Inteliquery application, which rapidly and more accurately assesses patient populations, the practice significantly decreased the time it took to complete FSQs while increasing the specificity, clarity, and understanding of its patient population. Overall, the practice increased its efficiency—from 2-3 hours on average per FSQ to 5-10 minutes on average per FSQ. That amounts to a whopping 90%-time saving.
On the Life Sciences side, Inteliquet worked with a large client who needed to quickly increase patient enrollment on an observational study to meet an important planned interim analysis and enroll the study on time. The client reached out to Inteliquet to explore potential mitigation strategies. Using OncWeb and leveraging sites within the Inteliquet Clinical Cancer Research Consortium, they helped the study meet the interim analysis milestone and continued the positive trend to reach enrollment goals. In addition to helping achieve 3x faster enrollment, their approach led to 70% faster feasibility and 40% faster activation times.
“Ultimately, we want what everyone in the healthcare and life science industries want: one, to fast track connections between new cancer therapies and the patients who need them; and two, to provide options to treating physicians and their patients,” says Marie. To achieve this, it is important to provide more Cancer Centers and their physicians with our platform. “We are focused on expanding our Cancer Center Research Consortium with new partners from leading academic and community oncology practices across the nation,” she adds. “We work closely with these organizations and continuously enhance and evolve the platform to adapt to changes in standard of care and the evolving clinical development and study environment.”