The Future of Cancer Care is Digital: Debra Patt, MD, PhD, MBA, FASCO

At the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, Debra Patt, MD, PhD, MBA, FASCO, Executive Vice President of Texas Oncology and Clinical Professor at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, presented her research regarding digital health solutions. Afterwards, she spoke with Oncology Data Advisor to further elucidate on the implications of digital health care for oncology practice. 

Oncology Data Advisor: Would you like to introduce yourself and give us an overview of your presentations this year at ASCO?

Debra Patt, MD, PhD, MBA, FASCO: My name is Dr. Debra Patt. I serve as an Executive Vice President of Texas Oncology, part of the US Oncology Network. And I’m excited, at ASCO, to present information on our digital health solutions.

One of the first studies that we presented looks at characteristics of utilization among different patient populations with our digital health solutions. Texas Oncology worked in collaboration with Navigating Cancer to provide digital health care solutions to the patients we serve. We looked at over a 100,000 instances of digital health care utilization through our supportive care pathways, digital education, our patient portal, and our electronic patient-reported outcomes instruments, to understand how different patient populations engaged with our digital health solutions.

We felt like this was important because there’s been a lot of reluctance to adopt digital health care solutions, based on the concern that they may not be used, or may not be beneficial, to older patient populations or more vulnerable patient populations. But what we found in our analysis is that all patient populations had high utilization of our digital health care solutions. Particularly, they were very high in patients that were older than 65. They were high among individuals that were ethnic minorities. They were high among individuals that were not primary English speakers, and they were high among patients, particularly, that lived in rural areas.

I think what we find from this analysis is, because utilization of each of our health care solutions was high among each of these patient populations, that they do, in fact, remain an important solution for all of our patients across our community practice. This is important for us as we continue to try to support practices in community oncology—that we know that these kinds of tools can be useful ways to augment our ability to deliver high quality cancer care. What we’ve also learned from this are different pivots that we can make as we try to provide more culturally conscious care to make adaptions to our tools, specifically for individuals that don’t speak English as their primary language.

Thank you for your time today.

About Dr. Patt

Debra Patt, MD, PhD, MBA, FASCO, serves as Executive Vice President of Texas Oncology and Clinical Professor at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, she is President of the Texas Society of Clinical Oncology, an ASCO State Affiliate, and as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) Clinical Cancer Informatics. Dr. Patt participated in the ASCO Leadership Development Program and previously volunteered as a member of the ASCO Expert Panels on Systemic Therapy for Advanced HER2+ Breast Cancer and Brain Metastases and Telemedicine Standards. She has received many awards, including the Young Investigator Award from Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation.

For More Information

Patt DA, Patel AM, Hudson KE, et al (2022). Analyzing patient engagement with digital health tools to facilitate equity across a large statewide community oncology practice. J Clin Oncol (ASCO Annual Meeting Abstracts), 40(suppl_16). Abstract 1575. DOI:10.1200/JCO.2022.40.16_suppl.1575

Navigating Cancer (2022). Available at:

Texas Oncology (2022). Avaiable at:

Transcript edited for clarity. Any views expressed above are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Oncology Data Advisor.

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