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Dr Lalan Wilfong Addresses Influence, Future Use of HEOR in Community Oncology


Lalan Wilfong, MD, vice president of Payer Relations & Practice Transformation at The US Oncology Network, speaks on how use of health economics and outcomes research has benefitted patient care in the community oncology setting and where it can be further leveraged in the pursuit of value-based care.

Health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) gives community oncology practices perspectives on how certain interventions can lead to improved quality of life and outcomes among patients, as well as cost savings. However, there remains a disconnect between that research and what happens at the point of patient care, said Lalan Wilfong, MD, vice president of Payer Relations & Practice Transformation at The US Oncology Network.

Wilfong participated in a panel discussion at the 2022 Community Oncology Conference titled, “State of the Art Health Economics & Outcomes: What Community Oncology Practices Are Tracking & Measuring.”


For the 2022 Community Oncology Conference, a panel addressed HEOR for community oncology practices. How has the use of this data grown in the community setting in recent years?

HEOR has grown tremendously in community oncology over the past few years. A lot of that has been driven by this shift towards value-based care where we had to show the benefit of the services we provided and really start thinking about the entire patient journey vs just individual data points, like we do in clinical research. And so a lot of that's driven by HEOR to let us understand risk profiling and what is the true value of the therapies we provide, not just monetarily, but also the patient's quality of life and outcomes.

COVID-19 accelerated that a lot because we had to take a step back and start really thinking through what we did even more, and how we provide care, and what care needs to be done differently.

How does HEOR data that community oncology practices track and measure influence their operations, and what emerging trends would you like to see further investigated?

HEOR helps community oncologists practice medicine better. We start learning where the interventions that we do benefit patients and benefit their outcomes in a much more holistic way than we do with just thinking about it. So we can start delving into topics much more deeply as we think about it with the health economics and outcomes lens.

Where I'd like to see us move to is better risk profiling, where instead of taking single tools or single bits of data and thinking about patient care, how do we incorporate a plethora of data points into what patients’ outcomes should be. Thinking about patient's risk profiles much more deeply than we do now, thinking about what is important to patients in getting some of the patients' voice into our decision making much more robustly than we do so that we can take all of that data and really truly understand what the trajectory of that patient is.

How can HEOR be better leveraged to accelerate value-based care in the community oncology setting?

The biggest challenge we see right now with HEOR is the disconnect between that research and what happens at the point of patient care. It's very challenging to take what we do in our learning through health economics, and actually apply it directly to the patients at the time they're receiving care.

So where I'd love to see the field go is figuring out a way that we take all the information that we're accumulating and gathering—the knowledge that we're learning—into the time when a physician sits down with the patient and thinks through that patient's care with that patient. How do we take that information and give it to them in a meaningful format so they can, at the point of care, impact those decisions.

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