Panelists from left to right: Dan Klein, Patient Access Network Foundation; Susan Pelletier, Cancer Survivor and Advocate; Len Saltz, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Veena Shankaran, MD, MS, Univ. of Washington/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; and Clifford Goodman, PhD, Moderator; not shown, Lori Reilly, JD, PhRMA.
Connexion Healthcare attended the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Patient Advocacy Summit: Value in Cancer Care―Patient Perspectives on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Connexion, through its Oncology Center of Excellence, makes it a priority to stay informed about the current oncology landscape in its entirety, including patient advocacy issues. In addition, we strive to bring our clients the most up-to-date information on pertinent meetings and congresses. Below are some of the highlights from the summit.
The day’s agenda was divided into 3 main panel discussions.
- Access to cancer care and how patients are faring under the Affordable Care Act
- The shift from volume to value in cancer care
- The cost of cancer care and disparities in treatment and outcome (see photo)
Under the Affordable Care Act, patients are clearly still having trouble accessing care because of narrow networks and large out-of-pocket expenses, which have been termed financial toxicity. The call to action for patient advocacy includes a requirement for better quality of coverage because many patients are “insured” but not “covered,” and 25% of centers are excluded from networks offered by exchange carriers. Patients also need more information and education so that they can make informed decisions when navigating the often confusing waters of the health system. In addition, to allow greater access to affordable cancer treatment, network facilities and physicians must be coordinated to avoid creating a cancer desert, an area sorely lacking cancer resources and care.
Four key movements are already shaping the future of oncology: precision medicine, patient engagement, alternative payment models, and quality measurement. Precision medicine, also called personalized medicine, is seen to be expensive. However, cancer is a disease of genetic variation and since no two patients share an identical genetic makeup, its treatment is conducive to personalization. In personalized medicine, the focus is on the patient as someone who is informed and makes decisions according to individual preferences. For successful personalized medicine, patients need to be engaged as never before. In regard to alternative payment models, data do not support any relationship between trends in prices and outcomes. Therefore, as a matter of policy, it would seem that research into alternative payment models is needed. Finally, quality measures must reflect outcomes that matter to patients and thus need to assess care planning and shared decision-making. Patient centricity should be the focus over value because an emphasis on the patient will naturally lead to value.
Patients, providers, and healthcare insurance systems all unintentionally create barriers to care. These barriers may contribute to delays in care or low-quality care that result in poor outcomes. Many believe some form of patient navigation is needed to resolve these issues. To assume that all patients desire navigation services is erroneous, however, and navigation adds an additional layer of oversight and cost. Instead, a greater effort to inform and educate patients is needed.
The cost of cancer care has a major impact on patients. To be better informed, patients with cancer need the following:
- Access to accurate and unbiased information regarding cost, survival, and side effects
- Equity, that is, all information available to everyone at the same time
- A clearer delineation of roles in delivery of cancer care. Patients have remained the same, but clarity is needed as to who is responsible for what
- Financial counseling as a routine part of cancer care
About the Connexion Healthcare Oncology Center of Excellence
Connexion Healthcare is a full-service global provider of strategic medical and scientific communications with decades of experience providing exceptional service to the pharmaceutical industry. We provide services through 2 Centers of Excellence—Oncology and Rare Disease—and possess core expertise in these therapeutic areas and their marketplaces.
Connexion Healthcare’s Oncology Center of Excellence offers executive talent with decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Our medical directors have conducted oncology research at leading institutions and major pharmaceutical companies. Our account leads have years of project execution expertise, and our medical editors are versed in the language of oncology. Our design leads are tops in their fields and ensure that your objectives are met effectively and even surpassed in an industry-eloquent and compliant manner. Our team works with you to conceive a strategy and execute communications through your product’s lifespan – from drug discovery through market launch and beyond. With particular expertise in phase 2 through postlaunch, we will engage with you wherever you are in development and whenever you need us.
For further information regarding the Oncology Center of Excellence at Connexion Healthcare and how we can develop oncology communications to differentiate therapies by their unique attributes, contact:
Senior Vice President
Valery Sudakin, PhD
Hematology/Oncology Scientific Services