Receiving a Master of Public Health (MPH) from Boston University and PhD in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004, Dr. Danielle Dell Potter now acts as Principal Scientist and Head of Real World Evidence at CancerLinQ.
After receiving her MPH, she worked for the Massachusetts Health Department as the state occupational health epidemiologist before joining the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps as a civilian epidemiologist. There, she performed public health surveillance of active duty personnel. In 2005, Danielle worked for Wyeth pharmaceuticals with their women’s health and vaccine/anti-infective portfolio before moving to AstraZeneca and working on diabetes and cardiovascular disease. At AstraZeneca, she eventually found her way to oncology in 2013.
Danielle presented her team’s research, Disruptions to U.S. medical oncology care during the COVID-19 Pandemic: CancerLinQ Discovery (CLQD) analysis, at the virtual 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting on June 4-8. After her presentation, we asked her a few questions about her experience at CancerLinQ and her presentation.
In 2019, you joined the team at CancerLinQ. How has your experience been thus far?
Moving from a large international company like AstraZeneca with 40,000 employees to a small non-profit has been a very big switch, but it’s been hugely rewarding thus far. I’m so happy to be part of this team because I very much believe in ASCO and CancerLinQ’s mission.
In your position, how do you support that mission?
My team helps demonstrate how CancerLinQ Discovery data can be used to answer research questions. By improving the quality of our data, we are showing the medical oncology community how non-randomized data can fill gaps in knowledge—which all supports ASCO’s research mission.
In support of that mission, where do you think your team can have the biggest impact?
We can have a big impact in two spaces. First, with our team’s ability to bring together the oncology community with ASCO to share and optimize real-world data collection. Second, with the development of novel and sophisticated use-cases for our data network, such as enhancement of clinical trials and well-designed comparative effectiveness studies.
Going forward, what are your short- and long-term goals at CancerLinQ?
In the short term, I want to continue publishing and growing the scientific body of literature derived from the CancerLinQ Discovery database.
Thinking long term, it’s my aim to continue teaching the oncology community about the need for high-quality, real-world evidence and how it can inform patient care. And, I want to improve the 360-degree patient view of oncology care in CancerLinQ by building out the real-world data available to us.
With the 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting behind us, could you elaborate on the topic of your poster presentation?
Our team wanted to see how the COVID-19 pandemic affected patient encounters and its impact on the medical oncology ecosystem as a whole. We compared 2020 monthly trends in patient visits to trends observed prior to the pandemic.
One of the most concerning trends we saw was that in-person oncologist visits for newly diagnosed patients with cancer dropped 25% in the first 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only that, but the reduction in visits had not returned to pre-pandemic levels by the end of our study period in September 2020. Obviously, people are still getting cancer, and I’m concerned that the medical system just isn’t diagnosing or treating them.
Finally, another conclusion we drew from the study was that Hispanic patients had a larger reduction in in-person visits and an increased use of telehealth visits compared to non-Hispanic patients. This finding needs further study, however.
We appreciate that you took time out of your schedule to talk with us, Danielle!
Thank you for the opportunity!