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NCCN Academy Introduced New Member Institutions, Addressed Big Data Trends in Cancer Care, and Reflected on 20 Years of Guidelines Development

Jennifer P. Tredwell, MBA, Senior Director, Marketing, NCCN

On Wednesday, March 11, 2015, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) hosted its Academy for Excellence & Leadership in Oncology™: School of Pharmaceutical & Biotech Business in conjunction with the NCCN 20th Annual Conference at The Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida.

Clifford Goodman, PhD, The Lewin Group, moderated this interactive program that featured discussion with NCCN Member Institution leadership, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) Panel experts and other oncology stakeholders about today’s most pressing issues in oncology.

The day’s first session, Meet the New NCCN Member Institutions, featured leadership from the four most recently elected NCCN Member Institutions: Jan C. Buckner, MD, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center; Ned Groves, MPS, PMP, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center; Abe Lopman, MBA, Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital; Thomas Lynch Jr, MD, Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital; Barbara Parker, MD, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center; W. Thomas Purcell, MD, MBA, University of Colorado Cancer Center; as well as Samuel M. Silver, MD, PhD, MACP, University of Michigan Cancer Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Chair, NCCN Board of Directors. These clinical and administrative leaders discussed their commitment to the NCCN mission, and the ongoing development of the NCCN Guidelines®, resources, and programs. To that end, they expressed their shared vision to improve the lives of patients with cancer, as well as their enthusiasm in now being part of NCCN.  The panel also discussed reimbursement challenges academic institutions are facing in the current cancer care environment.

The second panel considered the state of Big Data in cancer care, including its current and projected application to clinical care, decision support, outcomes, and quality benchmarking. Moreover, there was discussion regarding current trends in the collection, normalization and stratification of real world data. The following experts were featured: Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD, Flatiron Health, Inc.; Linda House, RN, BSN, MSM, Cancer Support Community; Alexander Liede, MSc, PhD, Cancer for Observational Research, Amgen, Inc.; Robert S. Merkel, MBA, IBM Watson Group; and Robert Miller, MD, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). These panelists, as pioneers in the application of big data in oncology, provided insight regarding each organization’s groundbreaking big data projects. The panelists agreed that future applications of big data are integral in the advancement of cancer care, benefiting providers, manufacturers, payers, and, most importantly, patients.

The final module of the day was a special commemorative discussion titled, “Meet the NCCN Guidelines Panel Experts: 20 Years of Guidelines Development.” Th module featured NCCN Guidelines panel members, including some who served on the original NCCN Guidelines panels in 1996 and continue to lead today, NCCN leadership, and an NCCN collaborator: Al B. Benson III, MD, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chair, NCCN Guidelines Panels for Colon and Rectal Cancers; Robert W. Carlson, MD, CEO, NCCN, and Former Chair, NCCN Guidelines Panel for Breast Cancer; David S. Ettinger, MD, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Chair, NCCN Guidelines Panel for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC); James L. Mohler, MD, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Chair, NCCN Guidelines Panel for Prostate Cancer; and Margaret R. O’Donnell, MD, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chair, NCCN Guidelines Panel for Acute Myeloid Leukemia, as well as Marcus Neubauer, MD, McKesson Specialty Health. This panel provided expert insights into the consideration and decision-making processes over the 20 years of progress that resulted in the recommendations of the NCCN Guidelines®, implementation of the NCCN Compendia, use of the NCCN Chemotherapy Order Templates (NCCN Templates®), and development of the Value Pathways Powered by NCCN™.  McKesson Specialty Health collaborates with NCCN on the development of the Value Pathways Powered by NCCN™. 

During NCCN Academy, pharmaceutical and biotechnology professionals are given the opportunity to view operational issues from the provider and payer perspectives. Participants improve their working knowledge of key business, policy, coverage, reimbursement, informational, and operational issues in oncology and gather valuable insights material to developing effective strategies for navigating the various constituencies in cancer care. Through this interactive program, pharmaceutical and biotech professionals learn from key stakeholders what they view to be the most pressing issues in oncology today and how to apply this knowledge to create mutually-successful working relationships. Professionals from marketing, sales, medical affairs, clinical research, policy and government affairs, and other business areas are better able to serve their customers with improved knowledge of real-world oncology issues after completion of this program.

The next NCCN Academy will be held on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at The Rittenhouse Hotel, Philadelphia, PA. For more information or to register, visit