From the Editor
I believe that the dialogue and thoughts being shared and expressed by all cancer care stakeholders is exactly what we need today. Frankly, the conversation has been underground far too long, but the headlines today have been focused solely on the drug cost. Anyone thinking that cancer care costs are going to go down, simply doesn’t understand healthcare economics, because the cost to society will continue to go up over time, with true innovation and value delivered.
My personal journey to understanding and experiencing up close and personal the complexities in cancer care started some 20 years ago, when, like many of us, someone extremely close to you gets the dreaded news, “you have cancer.” For me, this was my mom. Regretfully, as we grow older, we all continue to hear this dreadful tale more frequently. These events have transformed my career over time to turn it into a mission—improving cancer care and seeking the cure.
Oncology Organizations Follow the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care’s Lead on Value Discussions
Defining and improving quality and outcomes in the care of patients with cancer is difficult, so it is interesting that we are now having a dialogue regarding the potential for a two-tiered healthcare system. Can we really define second-class cancer care if we have difficulty grading, measuring, identifying, or even defining first-class cancer care?
At the end of February, I had the opportunity to attend the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)14 Annual Conference, which was held in Orlando, FL. Attended by more than 30,000 committed vendors, healthcare administrators, providers, politicians, scientists, and others, the meeting provided a great deal of insight into the health information community’s past accomplishments, the present state of the art, and expectations for the future.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a major topic in the news of late. In addition to providing better healthcare and allowing the uninsured to obtain affordable insurance coverage, the ACA has provided funding for outcomes research and healthcare innovation.
The recent Institute of Medicine report “Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis” addressed the important issues of delivering high-quality cancer care, including end-of-life care.1 Given that for many patients cancer can be a terminal illness, the cost of end-of-life care in oncology has recently been a significant focus for public and private payers.
Just this month, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a report titled “Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis.”1 This consensus report convened a committee of experts to examine the quality of cancer care in the United States and formulate recommendations for its improvement. The committee came to a number of conclusions and made 10 recommendations for the purpose of improving what it described as a system in “crisis,” which is associated with rising costs and growing demand.
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