AJMC Stakeholder Summit Explores Challenges in Using Data to Make Decisions in Oncology

Published on: 

What makes a cancer therapy effective may be in the eye of the stakeholder, even though everyone involved in healthcare decisions relies on evidence-based information. Evidence-Based Oncology, a publication of The American Journal of Managed Care, this month publishes a condensed version of the discussion among payers on how to improve collection and use of collection of data to make better evidence-based decisions in oncology.

PLAINSBORO, N.J. — A group of payer representatives convened by The American Journal of Managed Care recently explored the challenges and opportunities presented by the increased use of data in oncology decision making, with the results of their discussion just published online and in Evidence-Based Oncology, the journal’s news publication.

Many questions surround the use of data in cancer care: Which data are important? Is the gathered information reliable? What numbers are not gathered currently that would lead to better decisions? Taking part in the summit were John L. Fox, MD, MHA, senior medical director and associate vice president of Medical Affairs at Priority Health; Ira M. Klein, MD, MBA, FACP, national medical director, Clinical Thought Leadership, Office of the Chief Medical Officer, Aetna; Michael Kolodziej, MD, national medical director for Oncology Strategies, Aetna; Bryan Loy, MD, physician lead—cancer, Humana; and Irwin W. Tischler, DO, national medical director, Oncology, Cigna. The session was moderated by Peter Salgo, MD, professor of medicine and anesthesiology at Columbia University and associate director of surgical intensive care at New York- Presbyterian Hospital.

A summary of their discussion can be found here. To watch the full exchange on AJMCtv, click here.


The panelists addressed the best ways to gather and use high-quality data to improve clinical decisions. They discussed a number of important topics, including:

  • The role of noninterventional studies, such as retrospective analyses, versus clinical trial data and postmarketing studies. Data use and integration play an important role in drug development.
  • The “knowledge gaps” that can form when data sets do not have the right information. Panelists noted that due to their different interests, stakeholders rely on data from different sources: payers use claims data, while regulators may be more interested in biomarker or tumor status. Coding errors and the “silo effect” can cause disconnects.
  • Information such as employee absenteeism could be integrated into data that payers use, but finding an effective way to do this to affect treatment decisions would need to be done without increasing costs. Existing data sets are not always useful or adequate.
  • At some point, the judgment of the physician overrides all, because not all patients are the same. Making a decision about a certain breast cancer therapy for a 70-year-old patient is not the same as it might be for a 40-year-old patient.

About the Journal

The American Journal of Managed Care, now in its 20th year of publication, is the leading peer-reviewed journal dedicated to issues in managed care. Other titles are The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits, which provides pharmacy and formulary decision makers with information to improve the efficiency and health outcomes in managing pharmaceutical care. In December 2013, AJMC introduced The American Journal of Accountable Care, which publishes research and commentary devoted to understanding changes to the healthcare system due to the 2010 Affordable Care Act. AJMC’s news publications, the Evidence-Based series, bring together stakeholder views from payers, providers, policymakers and pharmaceutical leaders in oncology and diabetes management. To order reprints of articles appearing in AJMC publications, please call (609) 716-7777, x 131.

CONTACT: Mary Caffrey (609) 716-7777 x 144