Oncology Care: Bright Spots

Cancer care is expensive. Cancer care provided by practice organizations varies in total spending incurred by patients and payers during treatment episodes and in quality of care, and this unnecessary variation contributes to the high cost.

The objective was to use the variation in total spending and quality of care to assess oncology practice attributes distinguishing “high value” that may be tested and adopted by others to produce similar results.
In this analysis using mixed quantitative and qualitative methods and site visits to 7 US oncology practices with structured interview questionnaires, 13 attributes were identified that likely contributed to high-value cancer care.
Three of those attributes are:
  1. Oncologists engage patients early in discussion of realistic expectations of treatment results with an orientation towards preserving quality of life.

  2. Even when patients prefer curative care, palliative care is routinely recommended, and patients are given a single point of contact for healthcare system navigation.

  3. To avoid unnecessary hospitalizations, a rapid response team is available to stabilize and discharge patients in ambulatory care settings.

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