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Oncology

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and a German company called SAP are launching the clinical phase of ASCO’s big-data initiative—CancerLinQ. This clinical phase is focused on gathering and analyzing data from the 97% of US patients with cancer who do not participate in clinical trials.
Washington, DC—Patients with cancer are often prescribed medications for the treatment of comorbid conditions, and some of those medications may have harmful drug interactions with the therapies used to treat their cancer. Computerized alert systems are now being used to inform providers or support personnel on such contraindications.
Washington, DC—A new framework for transforming cancer care by harnessing the meaningful use criteria of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was proposed by a team of researchers at the 2013 American Medical Informatics Association meeting.

An independent health information technology company, eviti, Inc, provides a suite of web-based decision-support services that connects and delivers value to all parties in the care process—patients receive quality care, physicians are assured payment, insurers pay for quality care only, and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) or specialty pharmacy improve adherence. This decision support platform is a transformative solution that reduces variability in care, improves quality, and enables realignment of provider incentives.

Innovative medications target the molecular structure of cancer cells with increasing precision, resulting in reduced adverse effects. Novel therapies enlist the patients’ own immune systems to defeat cancer. At the same time, as personalized medicine comes of age, improved diagnostic tests match the right patients to these new treatments. The accelerating pace of these developments is improving expectations of patient survivability and the total number of survivors.

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model of care has proved successful in overcoming some of the fragmentation of primary care. Dr Sprandio and his colleagues have now demonstrated the value of applying the principles of the medical home to cancer care, with particular implications for oncologists and for payers and unique reimbursement dilemmas.
New discoveries in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer abound, but what is just “noise”? What is in oncology that is interesting, intriguing, inspiring, yet still just “noise,” because the path to action “here and now” is missing, or not obvious?

Interview with Al B. Benson III, MD, FACP

Professor of Medicine and Associate Director for Clinical Investigations, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL


Q: How would you define the concept of best practices, and what makes an oncology center, such as the Northwestern University Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, be among the best oncology practices in the country?

Dose-monitoring programs for oral chemotherapy drugs can reduce wastage and reduce the risk of serious adverse effects associated with these drugs. This translates into cost-savings for patients and for payers of >$2500 per patient, suggested researchers from Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy.

The company developed an oral chemotherapy cycle management program (CMP) that offers a “split-fill” option and close monitoring of pa - tients for adverse events. This is an optional program, and payers can elect to participate.

Philadelphia, PA—An expanding role for oncology pharmacy in the optimization of cancer care is likely to emerge over the next 3 to 5 years, as payers seek better outcomes for their money.
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