Community oncologists have a major role in accelerating treatment development and providing them to patients, said Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD, the chief medical officer, chief scientific officer, and senior vice president of oncology at Flatiron Health.
Transcript (slightly modified) What role do community oncologists have in modernizing evidence generation?
Community oncologists have so much of a part to play in the whole process of accelerating treatments and giving them back to patients. First of all, community oncologists are directly in the front line of what’s important to study. What are the important questions to ask? How do we get our treatments better and better aligned for the patients who are receiving care in the real world? So, one really critical role of the community oncologists that is often overlooked, is helping make sure we’re asking and answering the right questions.
A second critical role of the community oncologist is bringing to patients in the community oncology setting, clinical trials and other research activities that are right for the patients in their practice. Whether the practice is particularly involved in Phase 3 studies or observational research or the practice is equipped to do phase 1 and phase 2 trials—it depends on the practice. But, being able to think: how do I have research in my practice is one of the critical ways community oncologists can be involved.
The third way community oncologists can be evolved is by helping to contribute to the overall body of data so that we can use retrospective information, so information that’s already happened, to start to understand what treatments are working, especially monitoring treatments across time. Lastly, community oncologists have this critical role in the overall work of evidence development of being able to safeguard the system—making sure that the answers that are coming out of the clinical trials and of the real-world evidence studies make sense and seem clinically appropriate, and raising their hand and saying this doesn’t make sense and doesn’t make sense of my patient population, and here is what else you need to do to keep improving the cycle of evidence development so that we get all the way back to asking the right questions again.