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NCCN Holds Sixth Annual State Oncology Society Forum to Discuss the Current State of Cancer Care

Caitlin Donnelly, Business Insights Specialist, NCCN

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) 6th Annual State Oncology Society Forum took place Saturday, March 25, 2017, in conjunction with the NCCN 22nd Annual Conference: Improving the Quality, Effectiveness, and Efficiency of Cancer Care™. This Forum provided an opportunity for State Oncology Society representatives to hear from NCCN, various oncology stakeholders, and each other about the current state of oncology care, and facilitated discussion on ways of improving care.

Updates from NCCN

The Forum began with a working breakfast, during which Krystyna Kiel, MD, Associate Professor Radiation Oncology, Rush University, and Donna Powell, MS, CMD, RT(T), Oncology Scientist, Radiation Oncology Programs, NCCN, presented the new NCCN Radiation Therapy Compendium™, which officially launched at the commencement of the conference on March 23.

Samuel M. Silver, MD, PhD, MACP, FASCO, Assistant Dean for Research, University of Michigan Medical School, Chairman Emeritus and current member of the NCCN Board of Directors, welcomed the attendees and encouraged them to engage in frequent communication with NCCN, emphasizing the importance of their input in the development and improvement of NCCN’s resources and programs.

Robert W. Carlson, MD, NCCN

Robert W. Carlson, MD, CEO, NCCN, provided an NCCN overview, with particular focus on the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) and derivative products such as NCCN Guidelines® with NCCN Evidence Blocks™, the NCCN Compendia, and the NCCN Chemotherapy Order Templates (NCCN Templates®). He also discussed recent initiatives, such as NCCN’s “Just Bag It” public awareness campaign for safe administration of vincristine and the collaborative pilot program with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for the development of clinical practice guidelines for the management of toxicities in patients treated with immunotherapy.

Best Practices in Community Oncology

To benefit their colleagues, several State Oncology Society representatives presented best practices from the field.

Dhimant Patel, MD, Wisconsin Association of Hematology and Oncology, discussed Aurora Health Care’s efforts to address and improve distress management and survivorship care. Ray Page, DO, PhD, FACOI, Texas Society of Clinical Oncology, presented on the ASCO Pathways Task Force, of which he is a member. John R. Edwards, MD, Indiana Oncology Society, presented the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) 2.0, which he submits will be a likely model for health care changes under the new administration. Dorothy Phillips Green, Florida Society of Clinical Oncology (FLASCO), presented on FLASCO’s Patient Advocacy Outreach Program, and Charles Miller, MD, Hawaii Society of Clinical Oncology, discussed a recent study conducted by his society and Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) that investigated the degree to which Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders had access to recent advances in cancer care.

Best Practices in Health Information Technology

Heath Information Technology (HIT) is growing at breakneck speed; therefore, NCCN offered State Oncology Society members the opportunity to hear about the most recent advances from NCCN content licensees HIT expert developments and how NCCN content is utilized and presented as clinical decision support in their tools.

Robert J. Green, MD, Senior Vice President of Clinical Oncology, Flatiron Health, began with an overview of the collaboration with NCCN to integrate the NCCN Templates® into Flatiron Health’s OncoEMR—a cloud-based electronic health record designed specifically for cancer care providers. As part of this integration, cancer care providers are able to easily select the NCCN Templates directly within OncoEMR at the point of care. In addition, the system links to NCCN.org so that end users can access NCCN Guidelines as a reference. Based directly on recommendations within the NCCN Guidelines, NCCN Templates include chemotherapy and immunotherapy regimens with literature support, supportive care agents, monitoring parameters, and safety instructions. Dr. Green also mentioned an endeavor currently in progress to include the digitized NCCN Guidelines directly into OncoEMR.

Andrew Norden, MD, MPH, MBA, Deputy Chief Health Officer, IBM Watson Health, briefly reviewed the history of computing; from tabulating machines, to programmed machines, and introduced the era of cognitive computing. Dr. Norden also discussed Watson—IBM’s cognitive computing system— which includes NCCN Content and the creation of Watson Health—a system that can effectively collect and analyze the massive amount of data in the health care industry. Dr. Norden assured that Watson Health’s purpose is not to replace clinicians but to provide support in partnership to maximize clinical potential. He emphasized that cognitive analytics presented an opportunity to cut back on the overburden of administrative work a clinician is expected to complete, and that these systems excel at pattern identification, locating knowledge, eliminating bias, etc.

Nate Gosse, PhD, McKesson Specialty Health

Closing the second segment, Nate Gosse, PhD, Senior Director of Oncology Solutions, McKesson Specialty Health, discussed the challenges of innovation of tools in a rigid, fee-for-service environment, the demands placed on physicians to manage information, and the role technology might play in quality-based measures. This led into an introduction to Clear Value Plus, McKesson Specialty Health’s clinical decision support tool that includes NCCN content, such as the NCCN Guidelines, Templates and compendia and the Value Pathways Powered by NCCN available in this system. Value Pathways powered by NCCN are a result of a collaboration between NCCN, The US Oncology Network, and McKesson Specialty Health to develop enhanced oncology pathways delivered through innovative technology.  Dr. Gosse closed with what he considered critical points to success in HIT in the future, examples of which include harnessing leading clinical content, closely aligning with operations and value, creation of interoperability standards, and aligning terminology.        

From left to right: 
Marci Mutti,
MBA , and Kavita Patel, MD, MS

Policy Perspective: Post Election Impact at a Federal Level and State Level

To introduce NCCN’s health care policy initiatives, C. Lyn Fitzgerald, MJ, Senior Vice President, U.S. and Global Development provide a brief overview of the NCCN Oncology Policy Program and policy priorities. She then introduced  Kavita Patel, MD, MS, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, and Cofounder, Tuple Health, and Marci Mutti, MBA, Vice President, ADVI Reimbursement and Health Policy Advisory Services, who provided a policy landscape update, including the status of health care legislation on the hill, ACA repeal and replace, perspectives on HHS and (potential) FDA leadership, the status and viability of CMMI, OCM, MACRA, potential drug pricing reform and information on other key policy positions under the Trump administration.


About the State Oncology Society Forum

In recognition of the essential role of community oncologists and their representative state oncology societies in advancing the quality of cancer care, NCCN provides a forum for open dialogue, an exchange of best practices, and the identification of areas for collaboration. Fundamental to the success of this program are the shared core values of the state oncology societies and NCCN, which is to improve the lives of patients with cancer.

NCCN provides State Oncology Societies with access to NCCN Content and reports on updates therein. The next State Oncology Society Forum will be held in conjunction with the NCCN 23rd Annual Conference in March 2018. For more information about the NCCN State Oncology Society Forum, visit NCCN.org.

For more NCCN 22nd Annual Conference coverage, visit NCCN.org/news.