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5 Things to Look for at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology

Surabhi Dangi-Garimella, PhD

At the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), held December 5-8, 2015, in Orlando, Florida, a lot of new clinical data was presented, practice-changing treatments were introduced, and new healthcare policies were discussed. 

While pivotal trial data are the foundation of the annual ASH meeting, some new sessions were introduced this year, reflecting some of the dynamic changes being witnessed by the healthcare industry.

1.      Newly Approved Agents for Treating Hematological Malignancies
A special education session on clinical applications of new approvals will be one of the opening sessions on the first day of the meeting. Oncologists will present their clinical experience with 3 agents, 2 of which are monoclonal antibodies. Kenneth A. Bauer, MD, from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will discuss idarucizumab; Anjali S. Advani, MD, from the Cleveland Clinic will talk about blinatumomab; and Sagar Lonial, MD, from the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University will share his experience with panobinostat.
The coverage can be found here.
 
2.      Have Hematologists Warmed-up to Performance Measurements?
Quality measurements, public performance reporting, and pay-for-performance are defining healthcare in the United States. Provisions within the Affordable Care Act and value-based payments introduced by CMS this year are ensuring physician adoption of quality measuring and reporting. Two oncologists and a health policy researcher will explore the nuances of value-based reimbursement and share their experiences on the topic during this session.
The coverage can be found here.
 
3.      Patient-Reported Outcomes in Hematology
Patient-reported outcomes or PROs are increasingly being adopted in care plans, representing the patients’ perception of their condition and treatment. To integrate value-based care in the clinic, understanding the patients’ view of the value of care they receive is important. An educational session this year at ASH will include presentations by an expert in medical social science on developing PROs, the FDA’s perspective on PROs and their impact on drug development, and an oncologist’s experience in the clinic.
Follow the coverage here.
 
4.      FDA-Sponsored Session on Drugs Approved in November 2015
Product reviewers at the FDA will participate in a session to discuss safety and efficacy issues of drugs that were approved just this month. Additionally, clinicians will share real-world experiences with these molecules in the clinic. The list of molecules that will be discussed include daratumumab, ixazomib, and elotuzumab.   
Complete coverage here.
 
5.      The ASH Choosing Wisely Campaign
Similar to a session last year, representatives from the ASH Choosing Wisely Task Force will review the top 5 recommendations that were proposed by other professional societies and which are relevant to the practice of hematology. This year’s list includes recommendations on imaging for pulmonary embolism, frequency of imaging to detect recurrence in asymptomatic patients, thrombophilia testing, transfusion, and frequency of complete blood count and other laboratory tests.
Read the recommendations here.


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