AJMC Event Highlights Patient-Centered Oncology Care

At The American Journal of Managed Care's (AJMC's) Patient-Centered Oncology Care: Real-World Perspectives (PCOC) conference, held November 14-15 in Baltimore, MD, discussion squarely centered on the ideals of making oncology care more patient-focused.

At The American Journal of Managed Care’s (AJMC’s) Patient-Centered Oncology Care: Real-World Perspectives (PCOC) conference, held November 14-15 in Baltimore, MD, discussion centered on the ideals of making oncology care more patient-focused. Patient engagement, health information technology, wellness programs, appropriate decision-making, and enhancing care for the elderly are only a few of the benefits that care coordination in oncology offers.

Lee Newcomer, MD, MHA, senior vice president at UnitedHealthcare, who presented at the AJMC PCOC event, said “We have to think about how we become more efficient both in the research arena and in delivery of care.”

For instance, delivery models like the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) are quickly gaining traction as one of the most important innovations in healthcare. This model of care promotes extensive care coordination and collaboration among a team of experts as they communicate across divisions. As reform changes policy, the PCMH is working to transform the traditional primary care model to focus more on what patients need most. PCMHs are also leading the way for specialists, particularly those in oncology. Current models of healthcare keep disciplines too siloed, necessitating a model of care that can promote coordination across health systems.

Consultants in Medical Oncology and Hematology (CMOH), a community-based hematology-oncology practice in Pennsylvania, embraced the PCMH model, recognizing that it addressed many of the gaps in the quality standards and care delivery standards in the oncology environment. Over the past 5 years, the PCMH model in the oncology setting has led to improvements in patient care.

“Specifically, CMOH was able to reduce the incidence of hospitalization and ER visits, reduce the use of imaging services and other diagnostic tools, better coordinate services with other care practitioners and improve communication with patients regarding their care, especially palliative and hospice care options during later stages of disease,” read a recent NCQA report on CMOH. “The practice was able to gather performance data in all of these areas. They were also able to demonstrate improved practice efficiency. In the past 5 years, the practice increased its patient base by 30%, while reducing its staff-to-physician ratio from 8.3 full-time equivalents (FTEs) to 5.5 FTEs.”

Mike Kolodziej, MD, national medical director of oncology solutions at Aetna, who also presented at the AJMC event, said the oncology-focused PCMH will allow oncologists to focus on care transitions and to open a dialogue with the primary care providers who will be part of the medical home.

“As we get toward these integrated delivery systems, it’s going to be a way to make oncologists good partners, good citizens in that macro environment,” Dr Kolodziej said in a recent article. “When I was in practice, I was as guilty as the next oncologist in terms of not engaging the primary care doctors to assist me in the management of that patient.”

The AJMC PCOC event featured sessions from countless other health leaders across all sectors of the oncology spectrum, including those like Ira M. Klein, MD, MBA, FACP, Aetna, Inc, and Bruce A. Feinberg, DO, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions. The conference demonstrated how genetic sequencing, clinical pathways, health reform, and additional factors beyond the PCMH are impacting the future of cancer treatment, and how leaders are continuing to find ways to truly focus on patient-centered care.

AJMC's 2014 PCOC conference is slated for November 13-14, which will also be held in Baltimore, MD.

Around the Web

Patient-Centered Oncology Care: Real-World Perspectives [AJMC]

Profile: Adapting Patient-Centered Medical Home Principles and Tools for an Oncology Practice [NQCA]

Specialists Urged to Involve PCPs in Care [Med Page Today]

Oncologists Lead on Reform, Ex CMS Head Says [Med Page Today]

Patient-Centered Oncology Care: Real-World Perspectives - See more at: http://www.ajmc.com/meetings/oncologycare13#sthash.yCob5Lfh.dpuf