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Healthcare continues to move rapidly toward the direction of more collaborative care, with patient care being coordinated among specialties and anchored by a primary care provider. The pace of this change, however, does not minimize the opportunity to improve key workflows, especially in the area of imaging.
Big data has the power to significantly speed up the process from discovery to clinical adoption, according to a presentation at the Association of Community Cancer Centers 2015 Annual Meeting in Arlington, VA. Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Oncology, Flatiron Health, New York, NY, and Director, Duke Cancer Care Research Program, Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC, first described an encounter she had in 2009 while working in a melanoma clinic with an emergency department nurse named Janet, who presented with Stage IIIB melanoma.
Patients with cancer are paying more now for treatment than they ever have before, and are draining retirement savings, selling homes, and cutting back on essentials such as food and clothing to make ends meet, according to a recent presentation by S. Yousuf Zafar, MD, MHS, at the Association of Community Cancer Centers 2015 Annual Meeting in Arlington, VA.
No matter how high you want to go, you have to step on that first rung of the ladder. Every oncology practice in the country is making plans to move forward in some direction, and will have to climb a ladder, one step at a time.
The verdict is in: Congress has passed legislation to permanently repeal Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. The bill was approved by the US House of Representatives on March 26, and the 92-8 vote in the US Senate on April 14 now puts the legislation in the hands of President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it. The $200-billion deal staves off a 21.2% cut to Medicare payment rates and extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) while repealing the nearly 20-year-old formula.
I grew up in a lower middle class household. My dad was an insurance salesman, and we needed to live within a budget. The thought that we might buy something without considering the cost was unfathomable. As a doctor now, I wonder how we expect our patients to make healthcare purchases without this information. Why do we need to even justify discussing cost with patients?
According to a recent cost-effectiveness analysis, third-line therapy with regorafenib (Stivarga) in patients with previously treated metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) far ­exceeded accepted willingness-to-pay thresholds based on incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). Presented at the 2015 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, the results showed that regorafenib provided an additional 0.04 QALYs, at a cost of $39,391.
On February 12, the US Department of Health & Human Services announced its much-anticipated Oncology Care Model, developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) Innovation Center as part of the broader effort to lower healthcare costs and tie reimbursement to quality and value. The Association of Community Cancer Centers has been conducting an in-depth analysis, and the model generally looks similar to the discussion draft made available in August last year; although the model contains many positive elements, many questions still remain.
The current generation of oncologists has witnessed great advances in our understanding of tumor biology and biomarkers linked to treatments. Those advances started with research, but disseminating this information can be difficult given the myriad of obstacles in adoption to practice. The science behind these advances is fascinating and excites those in medicine with the possibility of providing meaningful, life-altering care to patients. But still there exists the reality of the vetting of each new discovery, starting with niche use among the early users, before it gets adopted more broadly.
Members of the medical profession sacrifice their time and energy without reservation for the care of patients. All too often, however, it is done to the detriment of themselves and their families—especially in the areas of personal financial planning. Many physicians opine the cost of the various insurance policies we purchase, whether life insurance, homeowners insurance, or disability insurance. We forget, as I almost did, that we need these policies to protect our most valuable asset: our ability to earn an income.
The following clinical trials are currently recruiting patients with renal-cell carcinoma for inclusion in several investigations. Each trial description includes the NLM Identifier to use as reference with ClinicalTrials.gov.
Thyroid cancer, cancer that starts in the thyroid gland, accounts for 3.8% of all cancer cases in the United States. There were an estimated 62,980 new cases of thyroid cancer and 1890 deaths resulting from thyroid cancer in 2014. Thyroid cancer is most common in people aged 45 to 54 years (median age, 50 years), and it occurs 2 to 3 times more often in women than in men. The incidence of thyroid cancer has risen steadily in recent years. Although this increasing rate can be attributed largely to disease detection at an earlier stage, the incidence of larger tumors has also increased.
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