As the discussion concludes, Peter Salgo, MD, asks each of the panelists to share their final thoughts regarding the current state of medical oncology and the challenges that need to be addressed moving forward.
John L. Fox, MD, MHA, comments that it is evident that the overall costs of cancer care are increasing. Stakeholders, including society, payers, and providers, are tasked with the responsibility of attaining the “triple aim” of optimizing the patient experience, improving health outcomes, and minimizing unnecessary costs. Fox adds that more attention should be drawn to the impact of the costs of cancer treatment on society and families.
Ira M. Klein, MD, MBA, FACP, remarks that when considering the challenge of lowering total overall healthcare costs, value must be considered. Additional data beyond the cost of treatment are needed to evaluate the value of a treatment option.
Michael Kolodziej, MD, comments that this is a tremendously exciting time in medical oncology. He adds that the first step to addressing the financial crisis in oncology is for stakeholders to agree that transparency and process improvement will, in fact, lead to higher-quality patient care.
Bryan Loy, MD, notes that the main objective is to establish a better system of care. It is important to take a step back and evaluate the entire continuum of care. By looking at the entire care process, stakeholders can identify priorities that need to be addressed.
Irwin W. Tischler, DO, remarks that various types of reform have been tried over the past few decades, with little success. Tischler adds that there is an urgent need for change, as the current system is unsustainable.