Flatiron Health: Transforming the Way Cancer is Understood and Treated

Flatiron Health: Transforming the Way Cancer is Understood and Treated

Nat Turner, Co-Founder & CEO, Flatiron HealthNat Turner, Co-Founder & CEO, Flatiron Health Cancer. Looking beyond the morbid sense of an ending life that the word usually induces, Flatiron Health is passionately driven by the mission to improve the treatment and lives of cancer patients. Moved by their families’ battle with cancer, the entrepreneurs, Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg, founded Flatiron in 2012 to enhance the comprehension and treatment of cancer. Flatiron aspires to value and learn from the experience of every single individual afflicted with the disease and also recognizes the need for a united front against the disease with smarter solutions that change the way cancer researchers collect data to improve cancer treatment methods. Flatiron provides solutions that foster collaboration among community oncologists, academics, healthcare providers, and life sciences researchers and regulators to accelerate cancer research and make way for smarter tactics against cancer. “Patient data is a serious thing. You can’t move fast and break things. We are thoughtfully disrupting the industry in a much more balanced way,” states Turner, Co-Founder & CEO, Flatiron Health.

The Story Behind Flatiron Health

“The cancer treatment journey of my seven-year-old cousin included two misdiagnoses and four bone marrow transplants, with his family unable to find enough information about childhood-cancer treatments and their effectiveness over the years,” shares Turner. This realization about the poor availability and accessibility to oncological information facing patients, providers, caregivers, and researchers, spurred Turner to redirect their careers towards battling cancer through Flatiron. One of the reasons behind the difficulty in finding such information is that when someone has cancer, their records are not aggregated as part of a larger collaborative system unless they are from the 4-5 percent of the population part of a clinical trial or research hospital. Many of the important details in patients’ medical history are embedded deep in “unstructured documents” such as doctors’ notes, prescriptions, and lab and radiology reports stored across thousands of disconnected community clinics, medical centers, and hospitals. Turner and Weinberg are changing the norm, by providing a “learning healthcare” platform to gather information about all patients’ cancer experiences on the cloud and letting their anonymized stories augment comprehensive and accelerated research to help others facing the same disease.

"Patient data is a serious thing. You can’t move fast and break things. We are thoughtfully disrupting the industry in a much more balanced way"

Tackling Cancer, the Flatiron Way

“Our aim was always to connect the disparate cancer centers and hospitals on a common tech platform both in terms of data and the touchpoints with the doctors,” says Weinberg, the Co-Founder, President, and COO of Flatiron. Today, Flatiron partners with over 265 community cancer clinics, seven major academic research centers and the top 15 therapeutic oncology companies in the U.S. Flatiron’s highly-curated, nationally-representative, real-world oncology datasets are the largest in the U.S. and are sources for research spanning multiple cancer types. The company has a team of experienced, intuitive, and ambitious members in healthcare, tech, and cancer consisting of oncologists, nurses, engineers, and data scientists. They leverage innovative ideas and technology to create software with a simple design for cancer-treatment centers, which connects patients, doctors, cancer center staff, and researchers, to aid cancer treatment and research.

Our aim was always to connect the disparate cancer centers and hospitals on a common tech platform both in terms of data and the touchpoints with the doctors

For instance, Flatiron provides its efficient technology platform for community oncology, advanced real-world evidence platform for life-sciences, enriched data infrastructure for the academics and hospitals, and more.

Enhanced Efficiency in Community Oncology

A primary objective of Flatiron is the long-term success of community oncology, keeping in view that flourishing community practices care for millions of cancer patients. For community oncology practices, declining reimbursement rates, increased patient loads and regulatory changes are difficulties obstructing the delivery of the best care to cancer patients. For the purpose, Flatiron has embraced community oncology’s shift from volume to value-based care and provides the operationally efficient OncoCloud Suite comprising solutions such as OncoEMR, OncoBilling, OncoAnalytics, OncoTrials, and the OncoCloud to help them thrive in the world of value-based care.

OncoEMR, a customized diagnostic and treatment tool with the latest oncology-specific design helps optimize clinical decision-making and reduce costs. It helps users collect, access, and report on all the required data, with the Flatiron team’s ready assistance. OncoEMR promotes oncology-specific workflow efficiency, and the feature Document Search enhances work speed for practices. OncoBilling is a practice management system integrated with OncoEMR that strengthens the client’s financial viability with faster claims submission review of information such as claim status in real time in the same application as the EMR. Referrals and authorizations from OncoEMR flow directly to the claim and won’t get lost in between systems. OncoBilling can also capture charges, generate claims and auto-allocate payments, seamlessly receive remits and explanation of benefits (EOBs), generate financial reports, print patient statements, and more.

OncoAnalytics provides a deeper understanding of the clients’ key performance drivers to foster a financially healthy practice. It also integrates data from multiple systems and helps identify unbilled, incorrectly billed, and underbilled drugs, preventing waste. OncoAnalytics conducts quality performance tracking and reporting alongside exploring drug utilization and revenue breakdowns to deploy new value-based payment models with practice confidently. OncoTrials backed by EHR data is a tool that enables clinical research teams to efficiently identify and screen patients for clinical trials from initial patient identification to trial completion. The tool also understands and enhances research program performance with operational reports.

Flatiron’s OCM Support

As a practice in the five-year voluntary value-based care program of Oncology Care Model (OCM) comprising around 200 oncology practices and 16 payers, Flatiron is committed to developing new care coordination and patient navigation activities to push cancer care forward. The company’s clinically-integrated OCM and Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) solutions save time and optimize practices’ performance. Flatiron’s cloud platform, OncoCloud, supports the entire spectrum of OCM requirements to manage patients, to monitor performance continuously, understand the total cost of care using claims data, to connect with experts and work with designated value-based care specialists.

Zach Weinberg, Co-Founder, President & COO, Flatiron HealthZach Weinberg, Co-Founder, President & COO, Flatiron HealthInspiring Life Sciences

Flatiron is transforming the way research across the life sciences industry is conducted by pairing clinical oncology experts with innovative technology to generate high-quality data directly from the EHR rapidly. As a result, the capability of researchers to answer questions is increasing. With their data collection and research applications in the cloud, Flatiron can get organized and accurate datasets to R&D initiatives across the entire life sciences industry more quickly and focus entirely on developing better software for oncology practices. Flatiron’s Clinico-Genomic Database enables researchers to conduct outcomes studies, discover novel targets, effectively design clinical trials, and use RWE while meeting the most rigorous quality standards for RWE. With technology-enabled abstraction, Flatiron augments human expertise with machine learning and other technology-enabled optimizations. Data quality is assured with complete data provenance for every data point generated. And, in terms of regulatory collaborations, active collaborations with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) define the requirements and uses for regulatory grade RWE.

Unlocking Data for Academics and Hospitals

Flatiron unlocks the value of EHR data at academic medical centers and hospitals for clinicians and researchers. Flatiron’s key strength is its ability to source both structured and unstructured oncology data from sources such as laboratories, research repositories, payer networks, and analyze it to make meaningful recommendations that enable trans-institutional sharing of curated data for outcomes research, linking genomics data to validated outcomes under precision medicine, actionable quality monitoring with tangible improvement opportunities, and more. The company also facilitates clinical trials planning and conduction that depend heavily on unstructured data. Flatiron can provide higher levels of insight into EHR data and establish a valuable, research-grade clinical data infrastructure at academic and clinical institutes.

Plans to Tread Ahead

Flatiron has closely collaborated with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Cancer Institute, along with accomplishments in the patient care (2 million active cancer patients annually) and publishing industry (35 publications) as well. Moving towards the future, Flatiron aims to leverage its data and analytics in the arena of data-driven precision medicine that is gaining increasing importance. Outcomes research, finding more patients for clinical trials, linking data with genomic data sources, and more are layers on top of their network business that Flatiron is building. The company plans to increase investments in provider-facing technology and services, as well as their evidence-generation platform, which will remain available to the entire healthcare industry. Motivated to be kind yet self-critical and dedicated to raising the bar, Flatiron is step by step actualizing the once incomprehensible hope to cure cancer.

- Tenzin Chogkyi
    August 16, 2018