Focus on Oncology

There have been many research advancements in oncology over the past several weeks, including a new blood test designed to predict the onset of breast cancer; new control techniques for oncology payer management; and the creation of a new electronic tool for oncology nurses to improve patient outcomes.

Blood test could help determine risk of breast cancer years in advance

Medical researchers have identified a “genetic switch” that could help to identify women who are at a high risk for breast cancer.

The gene is carried by one in every five women and experts hope that the new research will lead to preventative medicine and other behavioral interventions in order to lower the risk of breast cancer.

Dr. James Flanagan, who led the research study, stated that the blood test could be available in the next 5-10 years. The study was published in the journal Cancer Research. To read more about the research click here.

Payer Oncology Management Trends

A recent study by The Zitter Group states that “payer reported levels of oncology management aggressiveness have increased substantially over the past two years.” According to the study, payers have utilized a variety of strategies to rein in costs — such as ASP reimbursement, coinsurance-based cost sharing, and prior authorizations – yet these efforts have not been successful.

The report also mentions that payers will be anticipating even greater future attention to be placed on diagnostic products thanks to increasingly stringent guidance from the FDA in terms of coverage decisions for products. You can read more about this study on The Zitter Group’s website.

Oncology Nurses Using Electronic Documentation to Improve Outcomes

Nurses at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) have developed an electronic documentation tool “that integrates a number of key measurement and evaluation resources utilized in the oncology nursing field.” The creators of the new system performed a comprehensive review of all current nursing documentation and then took all forms involved to condense into a user-friendly checklist.

“[Oncology nurses] are accountable for providing evidence-based, quality nursing care and documenting these services. By providing a uniform documentation tool, we can ensure quality nursing care by using the strongest level of evidence on which to base nursing practice interventions,” said Janet Gordils-Perez, MA, APN-C, AOCNP, CINJ Director of Oncology Nursing Services.

To read more about the new electronic tool, click here.