Evidence-Based Oncologyâ„¢ Looks at Increasing Use of Palliative Care

Palliative care offers the chance to boost the quality of cancer care, but outdated beliefs that these services should not start until the end of life limit its use. The current issue of Evidence-Based Oncology™, a publication of The American Journal of Managed Care®, explores ways to bring palliative care to more patients who need it.

CRANBURY, N.J.—If cancer treatment would benefit from better quality and patient-centeredness, palliative care seems a perfect fit. Unfortunately, early use of palliative care is often a missed opportunity that costs patients improved quality of life and health systems money. The American Journal of Managed Care® publication, Evidence-Based Oncology™ (EBO™), explores this challenge in its current issue, featuring:

  • Project ECHO: This multinational initiative to increase palliative care learning capacity discusses its efforts to increase access to specialty care for the world’s rural and underserved populations. Efforts include telehealth to reduce isolation of rural providers and improve staff retention.

  • In “Do What I Couldn’t … And Go Save Your Life,” author and advocate Amy Byer Shainman shares an excerpt from her forthcoming book about learning that she was BRCA1 positive, the steps in her decision to have prophylactic surgery, and the effect of that knowledge on her family relationships.

  • Author Torrie K. Fields, MPH, writes about the importance of integrating palliative care into a treatment plan at the point of diagnosis in, “The Carrot or the Stick,” and notes that graduate medical education still overlooks palliative care as an essential component of care plans.

Evidence shows palliative care works, so what are the barriers? EBO™’s editor-in-chief Joseph Alvarnas, MD, shares his thoughts. “How can we ensure that more patients can benefit from effective, early palliative care? Perhaps this involves the breadth of stakeholders who participate in the care of these patients to overcome their prejudices over the word ‘palliative,’” Alvarnas writes.

“Palliation involves an acknowledgement that a patient’s cancer care needs extend well beyond the need for surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. In embracing the full range of needs of our patients, including the need to manage the distress associated with a cancer diagnosis, we can continue to bring increasingly effective, patient-centered care to those in need.”

About The American Journal of Managed Care®:

The American Journal of Managed Care® (AJMC®) is a peer-reviewed, MEDLINE-indexed journal that keeps readers on the forefront of health policy by publishing research relevant to industry decision makers as they work to promote the efficient delivery of high-quality care. AJMC.com is the essential website for managed care professionals, distributing industry updates daily to leading stakeholders. Other titles in the AJMC® family include The American Journal of Accountable Care®, and two evidence-based series, Evidence-Based Oncology™ and Evidence-Based Diabetes Management™. These comprehensive offerings bring together stakeholder views from payers, providers, policymakers and other industry leaders in managed care. To order reprints of articles appearing in AJMC® publications, please contact Dr. Jeff Prescott at (609) 716-7777, x331.