A national tumour biobank and cancer teleconsultation network are among the projects that will be supported by a ₹100 crore contribution towards the National Cancer Grid (NCG), from Axis Bank.

As part of the five year partnership, Axis Bank will support NCG, a network of 300-plus cancer centres across the country, coordinated by the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), under the Tata Memorial Centre. The aim is to improve cancer care and research, in terms of access and digital adoption, a note from Axis Bank said, on formalising a Memorandum of Understanding with Tata Memorial.

Memorandum of Understanding

The bank said it would support the setting up of projects such as the National Tumour Biobank, National Cancer Teleconsultation Network, and Oncology-specific Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). This will help standardise systems across the NCG-affilialted centres and help patients who will not need to travel for follow-ups across States, for example, when a teleconsultation network and digital patients records are in place, explained Abhejit Agarwal, Axis Bank’s Senior Vice President (Sustainability & CSR). About 40 percent of data get lost, as patients grapple with multiple reports and records, Agarwal told businessline, citing information from Tata Memorial. Once up and running, the initiative could be a case study for other non-communicable diseases that India is grappling with, he added. The initiatives will also align with the adoption of the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) across the country, the note said.

The collaboration will focus on improving cancer care access and quality, with a National Cancer Teleconsultation Network to help patients diagnosed with cancer to get expert opinions, follow up with healthcare professionals, and continue care closer to home, improving timeliness and reducing cost of care, the note said. Further, it would help establish Clinical Decision Support Solutions to standardize cancer care by building evidence based clinical protocols into digital solutions.

Cancer research

It would further support advancing cancer research and innovation, the note said. A National Tumour Biobank will help establish a repository of tumour tissues, blood, radiology and pathology images with clinical annotation from all over the country, will help advance research, among other things.

A National Digital Cancer Registry with emphasis on rare cancers and exceptional responders, is also part of the initiative. And in terms of enabling digital capacity building - oncology-specific Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) will be deployed in several NCG network hospitals to enhance clinical data management, promote personal patient health records, and improve healthcare delivery, the note said. It would also facilitate virtual skills labs /online and blended learning modules to reduce skill gaps in medical and para-medical professionals, the note said.