Michigan Oncology Quality Consortium Selects Varian to Support Transition to Value-Based Care

Noona® software application is a smart, cloud-based patient-reported outcomes (PRO) solution. Through the capture and analysis of structured, real-time symptom information, Noona helps clinicians better manage patient symptoms and improve treatment outcomes. Noona is designed to support the everyday work of nurses and physicians in cancer care, helping to increase clinical efficiency and reduce workloads through comprehensive communications tools.
Noona® software application is a smart, cloud-based patient-reported outcomes (PRO) solution. Through the capture and analysis of structured, real-time symptom information, Noona helps clinicians better manage patient symptoms and improve treatment outcomes. Noona is designed to support the everyday work of nurses and physicians in cancer care, helping to increase clinical efficiency and reduce workloads through comprehensive communications tools.

In an effort to elevate the patient voice in cancer care and develop patient-centered quality measures, the Michigan Oncology Quality Consortium (MOQC), a group of medical and gynecologic oncology practices who collaborate to improve the quality of cancer care across the State of Michigan, has selected Varian as the vendor of choice to support its efforts.

According to the American Cancer Society, this year an estimated 58,000 people were diagnosed with a form of cancer in the state of Michigan. Nearly 18,000 of new cases included breast, lung and bronchus cancer.

Launched in 2009, MOQC, which receives funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, collects and shares data with its practices to identify areas where care variation, under or over utilization of services, or opportunities to provide guideline -concordant care exist. Strategies for improving and sustaining results and outcomes are identified, communicated and adopted by participating practices.

MOQC will implement Varian’s software application, Noona®, to manage patient symptoms and capture patient reported outcomes (PROs) in cancer care throughout 19 cancer treatment locations in Michigan.

The program is expected to elevate, assess, and evaluate PROs in cancer treatment.

Statewide project
Through its decision to implement Noona, MOQC is spearheading a statewide project to develop Medicare quality measures for cancer patients by putting patient outcomes and preferences at the center of care. This initial round of public-private partnership cooperative agreements is authorized under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), also known as the Permanent Doc Fix, to identify measures for the Quality Payment Program and initiate system reform to transform Medicare from fee-for-service to value-based care.

“MOQC’s unwavering mission is to offer the highest quality cancer care to patients across the state of Michigan,” said Professor Jennifer Griggs,MD., MPH, program director of MOQC.

The research program of Jennifer Griggs, MD, MPH, addresses the quality of cancer care and effect on outcomes, optimal cancer care in obese patients, issues facing breast cancer survivors, racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in quality of breast cancer systemic therapy, and patient-physician communication and decision-making. Griggs is the director of the Michigan Oncology Quality Consortium (MOQC), and a faculty associate in University of Michigan’s Global Reach program.

“In order to make significant strides toward developing quality measures, we understand the value and need of hearing and responding to the patient’s voice—before, during, and after treatment. The selection of Noona was based on the fact that it was the only oncology-specific program, has a patient-friendly interface, and is customizable with a short turnaround time. MOQC practices liked that Noona was owned by a large corporation known in the oncology line of business,” she added.

Oncology reimbursement policy
Together with MOQC, Varian aims to help define a new oncology reimbursement model that will enable better patient care and help improve patients’ chances of survival. With Noona, patients have the ability to regularly engage during each step of their personal cancer care treatment journey and in-turn help support quality measurement for cancer care.

Noona offers patients an improved way to communicate their symptoms and other relevant clinical information to their care team, while eliminating common barriers, such as patients’ physical location or technological adeptness. Throughout MOQC’s vendor selection process, clinicians and cancer survivors had the opportunity to demo and experience the Noona platform. The simplicity of the technology, ease of engagement, and positive response from patients and their care teams continues to be promising.

Cloud-based system
Noona is a cloud-based, mobile application patients can access on their smart phones. The app is structured to collect a standardized dataset that is centered around patients’ health related Quality of Life (hrQoL), including new or shifting symptoms that may signal a necessary shift in care.

Patients are assigned a treatment module that aligns with their cancer type and allows them to regularly report and track their symptoms while sharing their questions and concerns instantly. Positive outcomes reported from clinics worldwide that have adopted Noona include an increased clinical efficiency and reduced workloads (saving up to 60 minutes per day) per user. The outcomes also included improved information capturing with a 90% patient response rate for symptom questionnaires and more effective patient triage, prioritizing the patient’s unique needs.

Henry Ford Cancer Institute and Munson Medical Center in Michigan are the first two MOQC sites to deploy Noona. Varian and MOQC continue to oversee Noona’s implementation through the end of 2019, with the goal of deploying the platform to all 19 treatment locations by April 2020.