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Clinical Pathways in Oncology

Segment 13: Place for Palliative Care in Clinical Pathways

Panelists explain the need and the challenges with including principles of palliative care in oncology clinical pathways.
Surabhi Dangi-Garimella, PhD, asked the panelists to comment on whether palliative care is given consideration when developing clinical pathways.

Michael Fisch, MD, MPH, said that the pathways approach can extend beyond just drug regimens to other realms beyond just the drugs to be used in treatment. “There is widespread acknowledgement that the principles of primary palliative care are very important for patient outcomes.” He thinks principles of palliative care will soon be included on pathways to promote value and quality care.  

“I don’t think there’s any one right answer,” said Kathy Lokay. “We’ve tried a number of things, using the software decision support tool, to ask physicians to document the treatment intent and whether it was discussed with the patient as a proxy for encouraging those discussions,” she said. Via Oncology, Lokay said, has struggled to figure out the right pieces to incorporate in pathways that would make an impact on palliative care in oncology. 

 
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