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The American Journal of Managed Care March 2018
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Development and Implementation of an Academic Cancer Therapy Stewardship Program
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Development and Implementation of an Academic Cancer Therapy Stewardship Program

Amir S. Steinberg, MD; Anish B. Parikh, MD; Sara Kim, PharmD; Damaris Peralta-Hernandez, RPh; Talaat Aggour, BPharm; and Luis Isola, MD
A cancer therapy stewardship program can be used to improve clinical quality and patient care by emphasizing the importance of value and evidence in oncology.
ABSTRACT

Objectives: Antibiotic stewardship is an integral aspect of hospital care, limiting the potential for resistance while working to minimize waste. A similar system is needed in oncology, given the rapid proliferation of new therapies and the challenges of navigating a complicated reimbursement environment. A “cancer therapy stewardship program” has never been described in the literature. Here, we detail our efforts to design and implement such a program and share lessons learned to inform future projects.

Study Design and Methods: For 1 year, a hematologist-oncologist (the “cancer therapy steward”) at Mount Sinai Hospital was in charge of addressing all requests for nonformulary or off-label chemotherapeutic and supportive medications and regimens. Requests consisted of the rationale for use and supporting data from medical journal articles. This pilot initiative was focused mainly on inpatient malignant hematology.

Results: Sixty-seven requests were made by 23 physicians, and all requests were ultimately approved. Requests tended to fall into 3 categories: 1) use of a single drug in a setting not approved by the FDA, 2) use of multiple drugs in novel combinations not approved by the FDA, and 3) adding novel drugs to existing FDA-approved regimens.

Conclusions: Our cancer therapy stewardship program yielded many useful insights into how our physicians face challenging clinical situations. It also helped to improve overall clinical quality and patient care by emphasizing the importance of value-based care and evidence-based medicine. Expanding this program will likely lead to many interesting experiments aimed at improving medical education and research, patient safety outcomes, and clinical quality.

Am J Manag Care. 2018;24(3):147-151

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