Mercy Oncology Services Receives Innovator Award for Chen Chemotherapy Model

May 22, 2024

ST. LOUIS - Mercy’s groundbreaking Chen Chemotherapy Model is getting national praise by the Association of Cancer Care Centers (ACCC). Mercy Oncology Services received an ACCC Innovator Award for the smart-texting platform that helps high-risk patients manage post-chemotherapy care and significantly cuts down on emergency room visits.

The ACCC award recognizes innovative and replicable solutions for oncology care from cancer centers nationwide. 


“The oncology community is out there, every single day, identifying problems and developing highly creative solutions to better assist their patients. The ACCC Innovator Awards are meant to not only recognize these efforts, but also provide an opportunity for other cancer programs to learn and replicate cutting-edge ideas for the benefit of more patients,” said Nadine Barrett, PhD, MA, MPH, ACCC president.

Mercy’s Chen Chemotherapy Smart-Texting platform is a machine learning algorithm that runs nightly and sends text messages to patients every morning for seven days following chemotherapy, asking about symptoms like diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting and pain. Patients reporting severe or worsening symptoms have the smart text escalated to the oncology clinic where they received chemotherapy. 

Initial analysis broken down by responders (those who opted in and answered the daily text messages) and non-responders (opted out or opted in but did not answer the texts) found that ER visits were 5.7% for responders compared to 6.7% for non-responders. 

The Chen Chemotherapy Model was named after lead data scientist Jiajing Chen. She served Mercy for nearly four years before losing her own battle to cancer in 2023. Prior to her diagnosis, Chen used her expertise in statistical modeling, machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics to develop the model that would later help others like her.

Chen won Innovator of the Year at the 2020 ACCC National Oncology Conference for her work on the model, which has been improved with Epic workflow integration and texting technology. The new smart texting program using The Chen Chemotherapy Model is the first of many use cases made possible by the Mercy and Microsoft collaboration

Mercy's Dr. Jay Carlson was also recognized for his leadership on the Chen model, helping him earn Modern Healthcare's Innovator Award in early 2024.

Who Was Jiajing Chen?

Family of the late Jiajing Chen, who created The Chen Chemotherapy Model, speak about her passion for medicine and helping people.