Blog from December, 2021

The CodeX team believes the minimal Common Oncology Data Elements (mCODE™) standard could be leveraged to achieve more equitable health outcomes for cancer patients from diverse populations. As part of our exploration, we are releasing a white paper, “Advancing Health Equity in Cancer Research, Care, and Surveillance, available here and will host a companion webinar, “Leveraging Interoperability to Drive Health Equity in Cancer Care, Research, and Surveillance.” Please join us on January 27th, 2022 at 1PM ET by registering here.

More About Health Disparities in Cancer Care

Despite a reduction in overall cancer burden, cancer health disparities persist in the United States. As documented in the AACR Cancer Health Disparities Progress Report, diverse populations characterized by race and ethnicity, location, and other attributes experience worse cancer-related outcomes.

The causes behind cancer health disparities are multifaceted and complex, with different dynamics for different populations. In the case of the greater prostate cancer burden among African American men compared to white men, factors that drive the disparate outcomes include a lower likelihood of being screened for prostate cancer, a longer time-to-initiation of treatment, a lower likelihood of receiving standard treatment, and greater exclusion from research that informs new, groundbreaking treatments. Spotlighting the social determinants of health, research has also shown that prostate cancer patients living in disadvantaged neighborhoods experience lower survival.

Expanding this frame to include the disparities present in other types of cancers across different populations shows that there are many steps that must be taken to achieve health equity.

The CodeX Health Equity Initiative Approach

CodeX is committed to advancing health equity in oncology and is actively engaging with partners on incorporating equity-related objectives to its mCODE use cases. Increased data standardization and data interoperability can contribute to equity-related goals such as:

                      • Increasing diversity in clinical trial participation
              • Making it easier to analyze standardized real-world data across populations
              • Improving treatment quality
              • Monitoring the safety and efficacy of approved therapies
              • Strengthening the public health surveillance of data crucial to identifying inequities
              • Accelerating prior authorization in oncology to reduce financial obstacles to treatment.

For more information and specific examples of how mCODE could be a foundational tool for health equity efforts in oncology, be sure to read our white paper. Register for the January 27th webinar to learn more about how CodeX’s work in clinical trial matching and radiation therapy treatment could be leveraged to support health equity.