5 Key Highlights From the Patient-Centered Oncology Care Meeting

Here's a glimpse into what The American Journal of Managed Care’s 5th annual Patient-Centered Oncology Care® meeting had in store for its attendees.

Rising cancer care costs, variability in care delivery, questions about the effectiveness of our care delivery system—these are just some of the issues that healthcare stakeholders are trying to address to make cancer care more equitable. While debate over what constitutes “value” in healthcare will continue, health plans, physicians, regulators, and patients are experimenting with what works best in the current context.

At The American Journal of Managed Care’s 5th annual Patient-Centered Oncology Care® (PCOC®) meeting, held November 17-18, in Baltimore, Maryland, providers, payers, the FDA, pharmacy benefits managers, managed care organizations, patient advocates, and others convened to address these and other issues in cancer care delivery. The following provides a glimpse into what PCOC® offered its attendees:

1. Immunotherapy’s impact on trial design

Immunotherapy has transformed cancer care and has made “cure” a possibility. However, treatments like the chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-Ts) have also altered trial design. David Fabrizio, of Foundation Medicine, Inc; Sean Khozin, MD, MPH, of the FDA; and David L. Porter, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, joined co-moderator Joseph Alvarnas, MD, City of Hope, to discuss the contradiction presented by immuno-oncology agents in the world of precision medicine.

2. Keeping patients in the loop on side effects

Debra L. Madden, cancer research advocate and patient representative, believes that when helping cancer patients decide if immuno-oncology treatments are right for them, clinicians should not focus only on the potential risks and benefits. Oncologists should ensure patients are aware of the variable responses to the therapy, like the phenomenon of pseudoprogression, Madden said in an interview.

3. Are payment models patient-centric?

Health plans are increasingly tying quality of care with payment decisions in their contracts with care providers, and this trend has already made its mark in oncology, with bundled and episodic payments. While moving away from process measures is a difficult task for most, clinics are transitioning toward more meaningful quality of care measures. But do these measures really improve patient care? Bhuvana Sagar, MD, Cigna Healthcare; Ted Okon, MBA, Community Oncology Alliance; and Stuart Goldberg, MD, John Theurer Cancer Center, joined co-moderator Bruce Feinberg, DO, on the panel, "How Patient-Centered Are Payment Models?"

4. The 30,000-foot view

During his keynote speech at PCOC®, Roy Beveridge, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Humana, walked the audience through the healthcare world’s transition to value-based care and explained why payers have faith in this transition. Providing a context to the current shift in healthcare, Beveridge told the attendees, “Whether we call it value- or risk-based care, it is coming.”

5. The future of oncology care

The meeting concluded with the panel discussion, Oncology Care 2017. Feinberg moderated the panel discussion among Robert Carlson, MD, National Comprehensive Cancer Network; Scott Gottlieb, MD, American Enterprise Institute; Ted Okon, MBA, Community Oncology Alliance; and Kavita Patel, MD, Brookings Institute. With the recent presidential election, the conversation revolved around the impact that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have on healthcare, in general, and cancer care, in particular. The discussion is also available as a podcast.