Reducing Disparities, Using AI, Improving Clinical Trials on Tap for PCOC 2021

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At the 10th anniversary meeting of Patient-Centered Oncology Care®, sessions will cover reducing disparities in cancer care, bringing clinical trials closer to the community, and expanding the scope of what the term "precision medicine" means in cancer care.

Reducing disparities in cancer care, bringing clinical trials closer to the community, and expanding the scope of what the term “precision medicine” means in cancer care are just a few of the topics that will be covered during “Patient-Centered Cancer Care®: Celebrating 10 Years,” the multistakeholder meeting taking place September 23-24, hosted by The American Journal of Managed Care®, a brand of MJH Life Sciences™.

The meeting will take place at the Omni Nashville Hotel, with a virtual option available for those unable to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions. Both in-person and online audiences can participate in question-and-answer sessions with speakers and panelists, but those who attend in Nashville—subject to COVID-19 protocols—will enjoy networking with experts and colleagues that many have not experienced in more than 18 months. A limited number of in-person registrations are still available; in-person and online registrations are free.

Joseph Alvarnas, MD, an oncologist/hematologist from City of Hope in Duarte, California, and one of the event’s co-chairs, discussed why the annual Patient-Centered Oncology Care® (PCOC) meeting is so valuable.

“The beauty of this meeting is that it really helps to empower stakeholders across the breadth of oncology,” he said. “We're not just talking about clinicians, we're not just talking about leaders of healthcare systems, but also the other essential members—those in pharma, those who are leading by helping develop pathways, those were leading on the payer side by exercising new levels of creativity in payment systems.”

Co-Chair Kashyap Patel, MD, the CEO of Carolina Blood and Cancer Care Associates and the current president of the Community Oncology Alliance, appeared along with PCOC presenter Lucio N. Gordan, MD, of Florida Cancer Specialists, in a New York Times feature earlier this year about the drop in cancer screenings due to COVID-19—and the resulting delayed diagnosis of serious cancers.

During the meeting, Gordan and Texas Oncology’s Debra Patt, MD, PhD, MBA, will offer an update on their research about the effect that COVID-19 has had on cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as the pandemic’s impact on oncology practices.

Born After Passage of the ACA

PCOC was conceived shortly after passage of the Affordable Care Act, when it was clear that all the players who would be involved in oncology payment reform would need to interact with one another, but they lacked opportunities for these exchanges. PCOC offered a place for these conversations to occur, both formally and informally.


These are stakeholders, Alvarnas said, “who often have their own meetings, and often have separate conversations. What you find not only in the panels, but also in the breaks in between when people have a chance to visit and talk and chat—whether it's by a virtual means or in-person—means you find this great cross-pollination of ideas and the general level of excitement that builds in the room, as all these diverse stakeholders who fairly rarely engage in these kinds of conversations, go deeper and deeper into the future.”

By design, the presenters at PCOC are both the traditional players in cancer care—such as providers from both academic medical centers and leading community oncology practices—along with non-traditional voices, including those from the worlds of technology. And that’s true this year.

Highlights include:

KEYNOTE SPEAKER. Iksha Herr of Microsoft Corporation, the managing director of Data and AI, Healthcare, and Life Sciences, will speak on, “Building a People and Patient-Centric Healthcare Continuum by Utilizing the Full Potential of Data & AI.”

FEATURED SPEAKER. Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD, the executive director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance in Nashville and the Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and Professor of Radiation Oncology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, will discuss “Reducing Cancer Care Disparities Through Community Engagement.”

Other speakers who will welcome attendees include Duncan Allen, MHA, and Jeff Patton, MD, of the Nashville-based cancer care and research network OneOncology; they will share successes of bringing clinical trials to the community practice setting while holding down costs.

Panel discussions will cover both familiar and new topics, from remote patient monitoring to new uses for data to the next frontier for clinical pathways. Highlights include:

  • What the Data Show—and Don’t Show—About Disparities in Cancer Care
  • Building Better Clinical Trials for Better Clinical Outcomes
  • When the PBM and the Payer Are One: Effects of Vertical Integration
  • APMs 2021: What’s Next with OCM, OCF and the New Administration
  • Precision Medicine: Innovation in Testing & Technology
  • Clinical Pathways: Best Practices and Integration Across Specialties