ASCO Underscores Importance of Quality and Value in Cancer Care at IOM Workshop

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Physicians inherently want to do the right thing. Part of that means not performing medical tests or treatments that have little or no clinical benefit.

—Lowell Schnipper, MD

ASCO leadership recently participated in the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) National Cancer Policy Forum workshop titled “Delivering Affordable Care in the 21st Century.” The workshop focused on examining the rising costs related to cancer care and potential ways to curb these costs while improving the quality of care.

Lowell Schnipper, MD, Chair of ASCO’s Cost of Cancer Care Task Force, spoke about ASCO’s Top Five list in oncology and its impact on improving value and quality of cancer care.

“Physicians inherently want to do the right thing. Part of that means not performing medical tests or treatments that have little or no clinical benefit,” Dr. Schnipper said. “Guidance like that provided by ASCO’s Top Five list also helps physicians in the exam rooms when discussing treatment options with patients.”

Dr. Schnipper also highlighted the need to measure and evaluate the impact of ASCO’s Top Five list. To that end, ASCO plans to incorporate the Top Five list into its measures set as part of the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative® to demonstrate physician behavior and uptake of the Top Five list recommendations.

Oncology Community Must Work Together

The IOM workshop also included panel discussions on policy issues related to the value, cost containment, and reimbursement of cancer care as well as the economic incentives for innovation and technology diffusion in cancer care.

Allen S. Lichter, MD, Chief Executive Officer of ASCO and panel participant, said that it is important that the oncology community work together to improve the quality of cancer care. Dr. Lichter emphasized that to improve the quality of care for all patients, the oncology community must be able to aggregate, share, and analyze patient data together to determine the highest value care for each patient. Using evidence-based medicine will help reduce inefficiencies and costs in the health-care system, he said.

“We know cancer is complicated, and we’ve reached a tipping point where we must be able to collect data, analyze it, and provide feedback in real-time on what treatments work best for an individual patient,” Dr. Lichter said.

A full workshop summary is expected to be published in 2013. ■

© 2012. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All Rights Reserved.




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