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$200K in Grants Boost Radiology Big Data Analytics Research
April 29, 2016 News

The Radiation Oncology Institute announced that it will award $200,000 in grants to researchers that use big data analytics to improve the quality of radiation therapy.

The Radiation Oncology Institute aims to support radiation oncology research by offering $200,000 in competitive grants to qualifying projects that use big data analytics to improve cancer patient outcomes, reported the organization in an official press release.

The grants will provide funding for two-year projects that use big data analytics to advance quality in one or more areas of the radiation oncology process, including radiation therapy.

“Big data approaches may advance quality improvement in our field by helping identify links between factors such as patient or tumor characteristics and outcomes, ranging from positive treatment responses to dosimetric uncertainties or outright errors,” said Deborah A. Kuban, MD, FASTRO, Radiation Oncology Institute President. “These grants are designed to support innovative research with the potential for real-world impact on patient care.”

Proposed projects should employ big data analytics strategies to improve cancer treatment outcomes, address top questions in the field, and influence policymakers.

The Radiation Oncology Institute will also consider projects that focus on pinpointing and analyzing data sources from different healthcare sectors that care for patients receiving radiation therapy. These project should endeavor to establish quality improvement and assurance measures for different healthcare providers.

All projects are required to use existing datasets, such as CMS Medicare databases. Proposed projects cannot not use the grant to develop new datasets or registries, the Institute pointed out.

Additionally, the research proposals should build off of the Radiation Oncology Institute’s National Research Agenda, which promotes research that shows the benefits of radiation oncology in cancer care.

The group maintains six priorities for research, including increasing awareness of radiation therapy, developing safety and quality measures for treatment, establishing a radiation oncology registry, creating best practices for controlling radiation toxicity, promoting comparative effectiveness research, and evaluating the benefits of radiation therapy compared to other cancer treatments.

The Radiation Oncology Institute also provided interested candidates with sample projects that would qualify for the grants.

One example proposal used big data analytics to develop key quality measures for cancer patients receiving radiation therapy, such patient satisfaction and toxicity levels. Another example used patient records to find how active symptom management strategies and image guidance can improve patient outcomes.

To be eligible for the grant, individuals or vendors should be involved in a research consortia or an institution that specializes in specified research. Radiation Oncology Institute will also accept Individuals who are part of an organization in the radiation oncology community and have completed post-doctoral education but are not currently in a residency or fellowship program.

Each project will be judged based on “overall impact, significance, approach, innovation, investigators, research environment, and budget,” stated the press release.

Radiation Oncology Institute expects the grant winners to be announced in December.

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