Value of Quality-of-Life Metrics

Traditionally, overall survival and progression-free survival have been the metrics used when evaluating treatment options in oncology. However, Genevieve Kumapley, PharmD, BCOP, suggests that quality-of-life metrics can also be extremely valuable and should be considered, especially when caring for patients with end-stage disease.

Quality-of-life metrics, psychosocial issues, and cultural and social factors need to be considered during end-of-life care, says Dr Kumapley. She explains that treatment options need to be individualized and decided upon based on appropriateness for the patient, especially in patients with end-stage disease.

Considering a treatment option’s toxicity is critical, she adds, because adverse events can have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life.

Because of the complexity of treatment selection and patient management in oncology, Dr Kumapley explains, it is challenging for payers to incorporate quality-of-life measures into coverage and reimbursement decisions. Although it would be easier for payers to simplify the process by covering only a limited number of drugs, patients with cancers for which there are few treatment options, such as pancreatic, can benefit from new options that have been approved based on quality-of-life metrics, she says.

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