Saving Time and Lives: Transforming Cancer Care with Smart Solutions and Teamwork

This text is based on the article Innovation for sustainable cancer care: Addressing urgent workforce shortages, published in the EFPIA Oncology Platform in 2023

In the world of healthcare, especially in Europe, we're facing a challenge: the demand for cancer care is growing faster than our ability to provide it. This means trouble – delayed diagnoses, stressed-out healthcare workers, and longer waits for patients. We urgently need to rethink how we do things and support our healthcare professionals.

The report 'Innovation for sustainable cancer care: Addressing urgent workforce shortages' breaks down the problem, pointing out three main issues: more people needing cancer care, extra effort to treat each person, and not enough healthcare workers. It suggests that we use innovation – new and smart ways of doing things – to fix this. The report suggests exploring five areas: how we give care, new treatments, better ways to check for diseases, staying healthy, and researching new solutions. These ideas could make things easier for everyone – from patients to doctors.

So, what's the plan? First, we need to jump on these new ideas quickly to help our healthcare workers and make things better for patients. The report gives five tips for local leaders to make this happen. It's all about making sure we reward hospitals for being efficient, find ways to pay for these new ideas, train people to use them, keep track of how well they're working, and make sure everyone knows about them.

The report also asks for a big change in how we think about cancer care in the long run. It suggests that our leaders plan for the future, locate enough money to make big changes, gather a sufficient information to make good decisions, focus on what really matters in cancer care, and share good ideas with everyone.

It compiles four case studies, with concrete examples, for improving time efficiency:

  • the role of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) in oncology, which allows continuous monitoring outside hospitals for early detection and improved colorectal patient outcomes;
  • the introduction of Qure.Ai's Artificial Intelligence, which boosts lung cancer screening by 17% through automated nodule detection in CT scans;
  • the use of, SkinVision, which empowers individuals with a user-friendly app, facilitating self-examinations and reducing unnecessary visits for early skin cancer detection; and
  • ColoAlert, which pioneers a less invasive approach to colorectal cancer detection through DNA analysis, aiming to enhance accuracy and patient comfort.

Together, these cases showcase innovative solutions fostering early detection, patient engagement, and streamlined diagnostic processes in the fight against cancer.

We must act now. By using new ideas and working together, we can ensure everyone – from patients to healthcare workers – gets the best care possible. It's time for a fresh look at how we do things, and with teamwork and smart ideas, we can transform cancer care for the better.

This text is part of the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) repository of best practices and innovations to address the cancer workforce crisis in Europe. You can find more examples of best practices here.