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Dr Joseph Alvarnas on Pressing Topics Within Clinical Pathways to be Discussed at PCOC® 2020


Progress within the adoption of clinical pathways, particularly in achieving standardization in cancer care, will be further discussed at Patient-Centered Oncology Care 2020®.

Progress within the adoption of clinical pathways, particularly in achieving standardization in cancer care will be further discussed at Patient-Centered Oncology Care 2020®, said Joseph Alvarnas, MD, of City of Hope and editor-in-chief of Evidence-Based Oncology.


AJMC®: This year’s Patient-Centered Oncology Care® 2020 will feature a panel to discuss progress in adoption of clinical pathways. What are the pressing issues in this area?

Dr Alvarnas: So, one of the dangers of lots of cancer care innovation is that all this technology, all this information, becomes used in haphazard ways. In ways that never allow us to create standardized models.

Without a degree of standardization, albeit standardization that respects the unique biology of the patient, we’ll never be able to deliver care in consistent ways, and consistency is very important. The other thing that's important is that how 1 center delivers care shouldn't radically differ from how another center delivers care, based upon things outside of science, knowledge, and what's testable.

I see pathways as a great way of achieving meaningful standardization that still respects the biological differentiation of patients affected by cancer. That's what's empowering about those kinds of pathways that are based upon emerging iterative knowledge. It allows us to achieve greater sustainability of care, and the ability for people, even those far, far in distance from an academic cancer center, to benefit from all the insights gleaned from the latest research or emerging clinical trials.

AJMC®: While COVID-19 is not specifically on the agenda, it’s never far from the discussion on cancer care delivery. What do you want to know from fellow participants about treating people with cancer during the pandemic?

Dr Alvarnas: COVID-19 has challenged far too much of our systems in society, and even society itself. We've struggled to figure out how to move forward, and unfortunately, an undue burden has been placed upon patients and families who are either beginning or in the midst of a cancer journey. Cancer patients constitute a particularly vulnerable population who are at greater risk from the perils and hazards of COVID-19.

What I'd like to learn is how our colleagues throughout the country have navigated this challenge, and set of challenges imposed by this, and how they've been able to transcend circumstances to ensure that patients continue to receive the care that they require, in a timely way that respects their needs.

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