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Conference Coverage

Defining Value in Cancer Care

April 29, 2021

At the virtual 2021 Community Oncology Alliance (COA) Annual Conference, a panel of experts discussed value in cancer care from the patient, physician, and employer perspectives.

The panel, moderated by Bo Gamble, director of strategic practice initiatives at COA, emphasized the many facets of defining value in cancer care.

Participating in the panel discussion were Edward Licitra, MD, PhD, Astera Health Partners, who provided a physician perspective; Beth Curran, Senior Director of Risk Management, Orange County Public Schools, who provided an employer perspective; and Tomi Ramey, an 11-year cancer survivor and patient advocate, who provided the patient perspective.

Mr Gamble started the discussion by asking each of the participants how they define value in cancer care.

Dr Licitra highlighted three major topics for defining value from the physician perspective: improving patient outcomes, enhancing the patient experience, and cost of care. From the employer perspective, Ms Curran emphasized the need to address roadblocks, so that employees and members don’t have issues that may delay care.

Lastly, from the patient perspective, Ms Ramey highlighted access as a big value driver in her cancer care. “I went to a community clinic…everything was right there. The labs were there. The scans were there. The pharmacy is there. For me, having everything in one location was really important,” she stated.

Additionally, Ms Ramey discussed the importance of having a good relationship with her care team. “For me personally, having a sensibility and that close relationship with my doctors and nurse team at the center was really the value for me,” she said.

Mr Gamble prompted Dr Licitra and Ms Curran with another question based on Ms Ramey’s response: “What are you doing to promote their view of value to your patients and/or your employees?”

“It is critical to put the patient at the center,” said Dr Licitra, emphasizing the value in getting patients the care they need as quick as possible. “We should be creating systems…[where] every one of our patients…get the same level of care, the same level of connectivity, the same level of efficiency, the same level of navigation,” he continued.

Ms Curran also highlighted the importance of access when looking at value in benefits packages for employees.

Hearing all these different perspectives prompted Mr Gamble to ask, “how can we help each other?”

All three of the panel participants agreed on the importance of communication, learning from one another, and working to improve care delivery.

“I think we need to be willing to have real discussions with each other, to sit down and to have an ongoing dialogue with the right partners, involving patients, involving payers, involving companies, to sit down and have an open dialogue,” said Dr Licitra.—Janelle Bradley

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