As cancer care providers, aligning care with each patient's personal goals is a key point to be further discussed at this year's Patient-Centered Oncology Care® 2020 virtual conference.
As cancer care providers, aligning care with each patient's personal goals is a key point to be further discussed at this year's Patient-Centered Oncology Care® 2020 virtual conference, said Kerin Adelson, MD, associate professor, chief quality officer, and deputy chief medical officer for Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven/Yale Cancer Center.
The American Journal of Managed Care® (AJMC®): What is the overall message you would like to convey to the audience at Patient-Centered Oncology Care® 2020?
Adelson: I think that the most important thing is that as cancer care providers, the burden is on us to provide our patients with the degrees of information and the choices that they want, so that they can make decisions that are most in line with their personal goals.
When we just put forth a recommendation based on efficacy alone, we are missing many, many of the other elements that can affect their lives and that they really care about. So, we have to get better at talking about these other things.
Treatment A may require you to come to the hospital 20 times and treatment B, maybe 4 times. Patients need to understand what all of that means.
AJMC®: What changes to cancer care have been the most beneficial to patients over the past decade?
Adelson: That's a really hard question because there is highly varied innovation, right? So, innovation from completely new approaches to therapeutics, immunotherapy, biologic therapies, which are really panning out and showing improved survival; but in terms of my focus, which is really on care delivery and patient-centered care, I think there has been a tremendous growth in understanding the way the treatments that we offer to patients affect the whole person.
In particular, I think there is really increased understanding for the importance of eliciting patient preferences and understanding patient values in the treatment decisions that they make. For patients, it's not always about what the most effective treatment is. Sometimes, there can be very, very small differences in efficacy that a provider will see as highly important, but for certain patients, issues like the burden of treatment, the financial toxicity, whether or not they'll be able to work can sometimes be even more important than the efficacy data.
So, there has been an increased understanding that on the cancer care delivery side, we need to help patients facilitate those decisions and the burden is on us to give them the understanding that they need to make decisions that are in line with their goals and preferences.