Clinical decision support systems can play a crucial role in healthcare delivery as they promise to improve health outcomes and patient safety, reduce medical errors and costs and contribute to patient satisfaction. Used in an optimal way, they increase the quality of healthcare by proposing the right information and intervention to the right person at the right time in the healthcare delivery process.
This paper reports on a specific approach to integrated clinical decision support and patient guidance in the cancer domain as proposed by the H2020 iManageCancer project. This project aims at facilitating efficient self-management and management of cancer according to the latest available clinical knowledge and the local healthcare delivery model, supporting patients and their healthcare providers in making informed decisions on treatment choices and in managing the side effects of their therapy. The iManageCancer platform is a comprehensive platform of interconnected mobile tools to empower cancer patients and to support them in the management of their disease in collaboration with their doctors. The backbone of the iManageCancer platform comprises a personal health record and the central decision support unit (CDSU). The latter offers dedicated services to the end users in combination with the apps iManageMy-Health and iSupportMyPatients. The CDSU itself is composed of the so-called Care Flow Engine (CFE) and the model repository framework (MRF). The CFE executes personalised and workflow oriented formal disease management diagrams (Care Flows). In decision points of such a Care Flow, rules that operate on actual health information of the patient decide on the treatment path that the system follows. Alternatively, the system can also invoke a predictive model of the MRF to proceed with the best treatment path in the diagram. Care Flow diagrams are designed by clinical experts with a specific graphical tool that also deploys these diagrams as executable workflows in the CFE following the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) standard. They are exposed as services that patients or their doctors can use in their apps in order to manage certain aspects of the cancer disease like pain, fatigue or the monitoring of chemotherapies at home. The mHealth platform for cancer patients is currently being assessed in clinical pilots in Italy and Germany and in several end-user workshops.