Improving Knowledge Transfer in a New Era of Cancer Care

The First Rewrite Cancer Innovation Challenge Winners

The inaugural Rewrite Cancer Innovation Challenge brought together the brightest minds in oncology to collaborate and develop solutions to a specific issue that patients currently face in the healthcare system.

Established by a steering committee of cancer experts from across Canada, the Challenge called on the oncology community to find ways to facilitate better knowledge transfer between multi-disciplinary healthcare teams in an environment where new treatment approaches are transforming the patient experience.

Teams were invited to submit ideas in response to the Challenge for an opportunity to bring their concepts to life. Of the 13 submissions developed by nearly 70 individuals from various health and medical organizations across the country, the steering committee identified two innovative solutions that came out on top.

Electronic Side-Effect Kollector and Advice (ELSKA)
Royal Columbian Hospital – New Westminster, B.C.
Patient Support Category

An oncology nurse at Royal Columbian Hospital saw an opportunity to help patients and care teams better track and manage side effects of cancer treatments in between appointments. Her team created a digital tool – coined ELSKA – where a patient can record side effects on their phone, computer or tablet, and in a few seconds, they are offered an intervention via a video to help manage their symptoms. Care teams have access to the data their patient is inputting, providing information about their patients’ side effects and how they are being managed. Healthcare teams can also compare how others are handling similar symptoms, which can help improve overall side effect management of cancer treatment. The original concept was trialed with 6 patients.



Reporting can be done through mobile or desktop.

Patients receive video message interventions to help manage symptoms.

Healthcare teams access patient reports within minutes.

The team at RCH then received a combination of financial and in-kind support from the Rewrite Cancer program sponsors to advance ELSKA. Through collaboration and partnership with experts in insights and analytics, I.T. and other specialities, a more rigorous program was planned and executed with 10 patients. Together the Rewrite Cancer and ELSKA teams established metrics, improved the functionality of the tool, enhanced technical capabilities and implemented pre-and-post user surveys to measure results. Based on learnings and experience from the pilot program, the ELSKA team can continue to build on the tool’s success and bring this innovative solution to more patients and healthcare teams.

Canadian Oncology Drug Access Network (CODAN)
Juravinski Cancer Centre (McMaster University) and University of British Columbia
Health Policy Category

Navigating the availability and specific requirements of access programs for emerging therapies can be challenging, particularly in hospitals or clinics with limited resources. The CODAN team recognized this gap in how physicians find and access new cancer treatments for their patients, and wanted to create a tool that would simplify the process.

The team aims to develop an online platform to expand the role that drug access navigators (DANs) play and provide a helpful resource for healthcare practitioners in institutions where a DAN is not available. The platform will provide healthcare teams a centralized resource with all the necessary information to match their patients with treatment options that may be right for them.



Provides an up-to-date online repository of access programs.

Includes information to pair patients with right access program.

Only an institutional email is needed to gain access to repository.

The CODAN team received financial support as well as in-kind assistance from experts in regulatory affairs, patient programs, I.T. and insights and analytics from the program sponsor to expand upon their idea and bring it to life. In collaboration with these experts, the team was able to more clearly define the scope of the project and determine user needs through a baseline gap analysis and feedback questionnaires. Together they analyzed and interpreted the data, and established the technical requirements to build the tool. Armed with these foundational elements, the CODAN team can create the platform and plans to launch a pilot program with the tool for physicians in Ontario, with the ultimate goal of expanding to institutions across Canada over the next two years.

Congratulations to the winners!

Do you have an innovative idea that could change the future of cancer care? Register your team, download our submission form and let’s Rewrite Cancer, together!

Invite others to learn more and participate in the Rewrite Cancer Innovation Challenge.