By Jessica DeMartino, PhD, Manager, Health Policy Programs
Equity in Cancer Care: Pathways, Protocols, and Guidelines
The quality of care received by patients often differs based on numerous factors, including but not limited to, treatment protocols that are being used in practice, health care setting, geographic location, access to medications, and insurance coverage. Recently, the issue of whether standardized treatment protocols, also known as pathways, can reduce costs without reducing the quality of care has been the subject of much debate, as has been their ability to reduce variance of care. As pathways are increasingly deployed in practice, they have a growing impact on how treatment is delivered and ultimately on health outcomes for patients.
In the spring of 2012, NCCN will host an invitation-only NCCN Policy Summit: Equity in Cancer Care: Pathways, Protocols, and Guidelines. This policy summit will be a forum to discuss the implementation of pathways, including but not limited to, how much flexibility pathways should allow in care, how pathways impact public and private health insurance benefit design, what impact pathways may have on variation in care, and how data is used to determine pathways.
Data Needs in Oncology – Clinical, Regulatory, Coverage, and Policy Issues
The collection and subsequent use of data for clinical, regulatory, and coverage decision-making in oncology is of great interest to many stakeholders, including providers, payors, patients, and regulators. Rising health care costs and continued concerns about safety and quality have resulted in the demand for more data and evidence by payors and providers alike. A common foundation of high-quality data that are available in real time can simultaneously be used to improve clinical care and yield quality measurements, both of which are high priorities for stakeholders.
In the summer of 2012, NCCN will host an invitation-only NCCN Policy Summit to discuss concepts including but not limited to databases, cohort studies, surrogate endpoints and clinical trial design, pharmacovigilance, and coverage with evidence development. Prior to the Policy Summit, NCCN will convene a multi-disciplinary, diverse Work Group to identify challenges and provide recommendations on the above mentioned topics, among other key challenges. Ultimately, the focus of this initiative is to advance the evidence base for cancer treatment and to examine the way evidence is generated, aggregated, and applied to decision-making.