By Jonathan Larsen, MPP, Program Coordinator
As we welcome 2012, we take a look back at NCCN's many achievements from 2011, several of which are highlighted below.
The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®), the recognized standard for clinical policy in oncology, expanded with the release of the NCCN Guidelines® for Lung Cancer Screening. These new guidelines provide guidance on how using effective screening tools for early detection can assist in the effort to decrease mortality rates for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the world. Additionally, the NCCN Drugs & Biologics Compendium (NCCN Compendium®) continues to be widely used by public and private payors to determine coverage for drugs and biologics in cancer care.
NCCN expanded its relationships with Health Information Technology companies to license the incorporation of the NCCN Guidelines and other information products into various electronic tools. We look forward to continued and new collaborations within this exciting area to further broaden the reach of the NCCN Guidelines.
NCCN and the National Business Group on Health, the nation's only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers' perspective on national health policy issues, continued to work on a three-year project to develop benefit design resources and tools for employers to address cancer care in the workplace. This year, the collaboration produced two resources, Quick Reference Guide and Assessment and Plan Design and Assessment Tool, both part of An Employer's Guide to Cancer Treatment and Prevention, a comprehensive guide that will help employers efficiently and effectively design, implement, and monitor the performance of their oncology benefits. These tools recommend that employers' health plans cover evidence-based cancer treatment, based on the NCCN Guidelines and the NCCN Compendium®.
Given the significant impact that health care reform and other regulatory requirements continue to have on oncology, NCCN took an active leadership role in 2011 by hosting policy summits on such issues as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's pending abbreviated regulatory process for the development of biosimilar drugs as well as regulatory and reimbursement issues surrounding molecular testing in cancer care. NCCN also held a patient advocacy summit focusing on optimal care for patients with cancer. Thought leaders across the globe collaborated with NCCN in the adaptation and translation of guidelines in China, Japan, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. NCCN launched its NCCNChina.org web site. NCCN Guidelines were distributed in various formats in almost every country in the world.
Over its first 18 months of operations, the NCCN Foundation has made great progress in advancing the mission of NCCN. Since launching the NCCN Guidelines for Patients™ a little over a year ago, NCCN has released a total of eight patient guidelines in this new series of consumer-friendly translations of the NCCN Guidelines. In an effort to promote early career development opportunities for young clinicians, physician-scientists, and oncology nurses at NCCN Member Institutions, the NCCN Foundation awarded five competitive grants in 2011 to young investigators dedicated to advancing and discovering new treatments for cancer. The NCCN Foundation looks forward to continuing this award program in 2012.
The above are only a sampling of NCCN's accomplishments during 2011. In 2012 and beyond NCCN will continue its mission to advance sound, evaluative clinical information to enhance the decision-making processes of patients, physicians, and others who influence access to and the choice of cancer care.