Active Care

Predicting outcomes that inform
prostate cancer patients

About this Project

Active Care is a software tool that helps patients with prostate cancer understand their risks in
surveillance and helps their physicians to make a care plan for monitoring their condition. The
application was designed in collaboration with Dr. Ballentine Carter, director of the prostate
cancer program at Johns Hopkins Medicine, and his team. The application translates decades
of patient data from the Active Surveillance program, which services low grade prostate
cancer patients who can live health lives without having their prostate cancer immediately, and
sometimes invasively, treated.

The Challenge

For patients with low grade prostate cancer, there is an alternative to immediate treatment that can allow them to live out healthy lives without going through invasive procedures. The Active Surveillance program at Johns Hopkins helps patients make these difficult decisions with their doctors as they are regularly monitored. A research team interpreted decades of active surveillance data into a complex algorithm (demographic, biopsy, MRI, and lab data) that created predictions to help aide those conversations. The challenge for the Technology Innovation Center team was to figure out a way to integrate and display those predictions through clear visualizations so that patients could better understand their risks and feel more confident about their decision to remain in the Active Surveillance program.

The Outcome

Active Care uses the prediction model and database developed by researchers to interactively chart a patient’s past lab and MRI values and the likelihood of finding a higher grade cancer on biopsy. It also displays the likelihood of each grade of cancer as well as long-term outcomes for specific subsets of patients if the prostate is removed. Since the tool was deployed in 2016, the Active Surveillance team have regularly used it to make data-driven decisions regarding whether a patient needs to do a biopsy or seek further treatment. Previously, patients were recommended to get a biopsy annually, but with the tool most patients can wait sometimes years longer before undergoing the procedure.

  • Human-centered Design Research
  • User Experience Design
  • EMR Integration
  • Data Visualization

Active Care Team

Dr. Ballentine Carter, Professor of Urology-Director of The Prostate Cancer Program, Dr. Scott Zeger-Professor of Bioinformatics, Yates Coley-Biostatistician, Mufaddal Mamawala–Biostatistician, Tricia Landis–Senior Research Program Coordinator, Sacha Wolf–Research Coordinator