ASCO seeks to guide the future development and implementation of pathways, while addressing stakeholder concerns that have surfaced following the rapid adoption of pathways in oncology.— Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO
ASCO recently released its Criteria for High-Quality Clinical Pathways in Oncology, a set of 15 interrelated criteria that provide an overarching framework for assessing pathway programs in the United States. ASCO developed the criteria to guide stakeholders in assessing the quality, utility, and integrity of clinical pathways in oncology.
Rising health-care costs and the overall shift toward a value-based health-care delivery system have led to the rapid proliferation of clinical pathways in oncology. In fact, according to DK Pierce & Associates (DKP) Critical Insights,1 an estimated 60 individual health insurance plans in the United States are currently using or developing oncology-specific pathways; and in 2010, approximately 15% of oncology “covered lives” were treated according to clinical pathways—a number that was expected to rise to 25% in 2015, according to McKinsey & Company.2
“Well-designed and effectively implemented clinical pathways can support the delivery of evidence-based cancer care, while enhancing communication and education between a patient and his or her physician on the complex details of a treatment plan,” said ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO. “ASCO seeks to guide the future development and implementation of pathways, while addressing stakeholder concerns that have surfaced following the rapid adoption of pathways in oncology.”
Our hope is that these criteria will help guide the development and implementation of pathway programs, in addition to assisting oncology providers and other stakeholders to better evaluate clinical pathways as they safeguard patient care.— Robin Zon, MD, FACP, FASCO
Prior to ASCO’s criteria, standards defining high-quality pathways did not exist, leading to wide variations among programs. “Although the desired outcome of oncology pathways is to improve care for patients while promoting value, the lack of standards for development and questions regarding implementation raised significant concerns by our members about patient access, quality of care, and transparency,” said ASCO’s Task Force on Clinical Pathways Chair Robin Zon, MD, FACP, FASCO.
Criteria for Oncology Pathway Program
ASCO’s criteria for a high-quality oncology pathway program focus on three key areas: development, implementation and use, and analytics. The criteria follow:
In January 2016, ASCO released the ASCO Policy Statement on Clinical Pathways in Oncology,3 which called for the development of robust criteria to support certification of oncology pathway programs. The ASCO Task Force on Clinical Pathways then conducted a review of the current U.S. oncology clinical pathways landscape, which included meetings with key stakeholders, to develop the 15 criteria, which mark the next step in fulfilling the recommendation made by ASCO’s original policy statement on oncology pathways.
“Our hope is that these criteria will help guide the development and implementation of pathway programs,” said Dr. Zon, “in addition to assisting oncology providers and other stakeholders to better evaluate clinical pathways as they safeguard patient care.”
For more information on the Criteria for High-Quality Clinical Pathways in Oncology, go to http://www.asco.org/sites/new-www.asco.org/files/content-files/blog-release/documents/2016-ASCO-Criteria-High-Quality-Pathways.pdf?et_cid=38654674&et_rid=466246220&linkid=Criteria+for+High-Quality+Clinical+Pathways+in+Oncology. ■
1. DK Pierce & Associates: DKP Critical Insights®—Clinical Pathway Trends and Evolution. Available at http://www.accc-cancer.org/ossn_network/ks/presentations/kasco-fall2013-schroeder.pdf. Accessed November 29, 2016.
2. McKinsey & Company: Strategies in Oncology: Spotlight on Clinical Pathways. January 2012. Available at http://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/dotcom/client_service/pharma%20and%20medical%20products/pmp%20new/pdfs/786594_strategies_in_oncology.ashx. Accessed November 29, 2016.