By Megan Martin, Communications Manager, and Jennifer Hinkel, NCCN eBulletin Editor-in-Chief
As current health policy debates turn to the application of Comparative Effectiveness in oncology, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) plans to convene a team including Comparative Effectiveness and oncology experts and to develop a methodology for the evaluation and application of health care technologies in the context of cancer care.
“NCCN believes that the primary objective of Comparative Effectiveness should be to improve patient outcomes while enhancing efficiency. As leaders in guideline development, NCCN has the unique ability to apply our tremendous expertise in collaboration with other constituencies to establish recommendations that clinicians will support,” said Al. B. Benson, III, MD, Chairman of the Board of the NCCN, Associate Director for Clinical Investigations, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.
Applying Comparative Effectiveness research to the treatment of cancer presents a unique challenge because treatment goals and expectations will differ according to individual stage and type of cancer being treated. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network is working to convene a group of expert clinicians, methodologists, patient advocates, and payors to make recommendations regarding the appropriate use of Comparative Effectiveness in oncology. This effort is part of NCCN's recognition that the oncology community should take the lead in asserting the appropriate application of Comparative Effectiveness analysis in a policy setting.
“It is past time that expert clinicians who see patients every day and who are dedicated to providing effective and efficient care determine the direction for a process of Comparative Effectiveness that will significantly impact the options available to patients with cancer,” said William T. McGivney, PhD, CEO of NCCN.
NCCN has established an internal committee and a Comparative Effectiveness Work Group comprised of members with expertise in clinical oncology, guideline development, and Comparative Effectiveness research. This NCCN Work Group will deliver a white paper with the intent to drive the national policy process on Comparative Effectiveness by year's end. The recommendations for the NCCN Work Group will be announced at a National Summit that is being planned for December of this year.