Pieces Helps Accelerate Patient Identification for National Cancer Study » Dallas Innovates


Securing recruits for clinical trials is essential, especially since up to 86% of trials are unable to meet recruitment targets within the proposed time frame. A local tech company is looking to change that.

Pieces, an Irving-based healthcare-focused AI company, is partnering with Philadelphia-based nonprofit research firm NRG Oncology to accelerate patient identification in an upcoming study that could affect millions of people.

“As a mission-driven AI company, we are extremely excited to work with NRG Oncology and selected study sites to help advance colorectal cancer research and science that can help save lives. “, Dr. Ruben Amarasingham, founder and CEO of Pieces, said in a statement.

“Read” hundreds of thousands of electronic notes

[Image: Pieces]

Through the study, called FORTE, researchers will seek to enroll 9,500 participants across the country, with the aim of determining when patients who have had one or two benign polyps removed during a colonoscopy should have the exam repeated. .

For its part, Pieces will use its analytics platform, which combines AI and natural language processing (NLP), to “read” hundreds of thousands of electronic colonoscopy notes and records to identify quickly identify patients who meet the study’s qualification criteria. Amarasingham also said Pieces will take care of all administrative, operational and technical aspects of partnering with the study sites.

The FORTE study is being conducted as part of the NCI’s Community Oncology Research Program, which is led by the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Prevention, alongside members of the National Clinical Trials Network.

“We believe that NLP can save hundreds, if not thousands, of hours per study site,” said Dr. Robert Schoen, chief of the division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh. and at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Principal Investigator. for FORTE. “This time saving allows FORTE sites to increase their recruitment efforts and continue to build their FORTE referral networks, and also make the overall study more likely to meet its participant recruitment goals.”

Pieces Growth Includes $25.7M Funding Round and Dallas-Based Acquisition

Using its technology, Pieces claims to be able to interpret patient information in real time and connect health systems with community organizations. Since 2016, the company has been building integrated communities across health systems and community service providers, with customers ranging from hospitals, health systems and health plans to community health clinics and community service providers. The latter includes food banks, employment assistance and educational service organizations.

Coins have grown in recent years. The company kicked off 2020 by closing a $25.7 million Series B funding round led by Concord Health Partners and joined by existing investor Children’s Health of Dallas. Last year, it went on to acquire Dallas-based Bowtie Business Intelligence, a data management and intelligence company that connects organizations to many data sources. The move increased Pieces’ roster to 55 at the time.

“We know that holistic approaches to care delivery are needed so that the silos between clinical and non-clinical care settings can be broken down,” said Brett Grob, chief financial officer of Pieces, in a statement last January. “Having capabilities across a broader range of customers in clinical and social service settings enhances our AI platform and dynamic networks, and delivers value to clinical and social service providers, and ultimately to the patient.”

Alex Edwards contributed to this report.

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