More than 14 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer deaths are estimated to occur worldwide on an annual basis. Of these, 57% of new cancer cases and 65% of cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Disparities in available resources for health care are enormous and staggering. The WHO estimates that the United States and Canada have 10% of the global burden of disease, 37% of the world's health workers, and more than 50% of the world's financial resources for health; by contrast, the African region has 24% of the global burden of disease, 3% of health workers, and less than 1% of the world's financial resources for health. This disparity is even more extreme with cancer. NCCN has developed a framework for stratifying the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) to help health care systems in providing optimal care for patients with cancer with varying available resources. This framework is modified from a method developed by the Breast Health Global Initiative. The NCCN Framework for Resource Stratification (NCCN Framework) identifies 4 resource environments: basic resources, core resources, enhanced resources, and NCCN Guidelines, and presents the recommendations in a graphic format that always maintains the context of the NCCN Guidelines. This article describes the rationale for resource-stratified guidelines and the methodology for developing the NCCN Framework, using a portion of the NCCN Cervical Cancer Guideline as an example.
Robert W. Carlson, Jillian L. Scavone, Wui-Jin Koh, Joan S. McClure, Benjamin E. Greer, Rashmi Kumar, Nicole R. McMillian and Benjamin O. Anderson
Katy Winckworth-Prejsnar, James McCanney, Alyssa A. Schatz, Warren Smedley, Leonidas C. Platanias, Cecil M. Benitez, Lee N. Newcomer, C. Lyn Fitzgerald and Robert W. Carlson
Multiple factors are forcing the healthcare delivery system to change. A movement toward value-based payment models is shifting these systems to team-based integration and coordination of care for better efficiencies and outcomes. Workforce shortages are stressing access and quality of care for patients with cancer and survivors, and their families and caregivers. Innovative therapies are expensive, forcing payers and employers to prioritize resources. Patients are advocating for care models centered on their needs rather than those of providers. In response, payment policies have recently focused on the promotion of alternative payment models that incentivize coordinated, high-quality care with consideration for value and controlling the increasing overall costs associated with cancer and its treatment. Given the multitude of factors confounding cancer care, NCCN convened a multistakeholder working group to examine the challenges and opportunities presented by changing paradigms in cancer care delivery. The group identified key challenges and developed policy recommendations to address 4 high-visibility topics in cancer care delivery. The findings and recommendations were then presented at the NCCN Policy Summit: Policy Challenges and Opportunities to Address Changing Paradigms in Cancer Care Delivery in September 2018, and multistakeholder roundtable panel discussions explored these findings and recommendations along with additional items. This article encapsulates the discussion from the NCCN Working Group meetings and the NCCN Policy Summit, including multistakeholder policy recommendations on delivery issues in cancer care designed to help inform national policies moving forward.
Elizabeth A. Nardi, James McCanney, Katy Winckworth-Prejsnar, Alyssa A. Schatz, Kerin Adelson, Marcus Neubauer, Mary Lou Smith, Ronald Walters and Robert W. Carlson
Quality measurement in oncology is increasing in significance as payment schemes shift from volume to value. As demand for quality measures increases, challenges in the development of quality measures, standardization across measures, and the limitations of health information technology have become apparent. Moreover, the time and financial burden associated with developing, tracking, and reporting quality measures are substantial. Despite these challenges, best practices and leaders in the field of quality measurement in oncology have emerged. To understand the current challenges and promising practices in quality measurement and to explore future considerations for measure development and measure reporting in oncology, NCCN convened the NCCN Policy Summit: Redefining Quality Measurement in Oncology. The summit included discussion of the current quality landscape and efforts to develop quality measures, use of quality measures in various programs, patient perspective of quality, and challenges and best practices for quality reporting.
Lindsey A.M. Bandini, Leigh Gallo, Terrell Johnson, Kara Martin, Alyssa A. Schatz, Kerin Adelson, Bryan A. Loy, Ronald S. Walters, Tracy Wong and Robert W. Carlson
Quality measurement is a critical component of advancing a health system that pays for performance over volume. Although there has been significant attention paid to quality measurement within health systems in recent years, significant challenges to meaningful measurement of quality care outcomes remain. Defining cost can be challenging, but is arguably not as elusive as quality, which lacks standard measurement methods and units. To identify industry standards and recommendations for the future, NCCN recently hosted the NCCN Oncology Policy Summit: Defining, Measuring, and Applying Quality in an Evolving Health Policy Landscape and the Implications for Cancer Care. Key stakeholders including physicians, payers, policymakers, patient advocates, and technology partners reviewed current quality measurement programs to identify success and challenges, including the Oncology Care Model. Speakers and panelists identified gaps in quality measurement and provided insights and suggestions for further advancing quality measurement in oncology. This article provides insights and recommendations; however, the goal of this program was to highlight key issues and not to obtain consensus.
Nandita Khera, Jessica Sugalski, Diana Krause, Richard Butterfield III, Nan Zhang, F. Marc Stewart, Robert W. Carlson, Joan M. Griffin, S. Yousuf Zafar and Stephanie J. Lee
Background: Financial distress from medical treatment is an increasing concern. Healthcare organizations may have different levels of organizational commitment, existing programs, and expected outcomes of screening and management of patient financial distress. Patients and Methods: In November 2018, representatives from 17 (63%) of the 27 existing NCCN Member Institutions completed an online survey. The survey focused on screening and management practices for patient financial distress, perceived barriers in implementation, and leadership attitudes about such practices. Due to the lack of a validated questionnaire in this area, survey questions were generated after a comprehensive literature search and discussions among the study team, including NCCN Best Practices Committee representatives. Results: Responses showed that 76% of centers routinely screened for financial distress, mostly with social worker assessment (94%), and that 56% screened patients multiple times. All centers offered programs to help with drug costs, meal or gas vouchers, and payment plans. Charity care was provided by 100% of the large centers (≥10,000 unique annual patients) but none of the small centers that responded (<10,000 unique annual patients; P=.008). Metrics to evaluate the impact of financial advocacy services included number of patients assisted, bad debt/charity write-offs, or patient satisfaction surveys. The effectiveness of institutional practices for screening and management of financial distress was reported as poor/very poor by 6% of respondents. Inadequate staffing and resources, limited budget, and lack of reimbursement were potential barriers in the provision of these services. A total of 94% agreed with the need for better integration of financial advocacy into oncology practice. Conclusions: Three-fourths of NCCN Member Institutions reported screening and management programs for financial distress, although the actual practices and range of services vary. Information from this study can help centers benchmark their performance relative to similar programs and identify best practices in this area.
Elizabeth A. Nardi, Julie A. Wolfson, Steven T. Rosen, Robert B. Diasio, Stanton L. Gerson, Barbara A. Parker, Joseph C. Alvarnas, Harlan A. Levine, Yuman Fong, Dennis D. Weisenburger, C. Lyn Fitzgerald, Maggie Egan, Sharon Stranford, Robert W. Carlson and Edward J. Benz Jr
Key challenges facing the oncology community today include access to appropriate, high quality, patient-centered cancer care; defining and delivering high-value care; and rising costs. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network convened a Work Group composed of NCCN Member Institution cancer center directors and their delegates to examine the challenges of access, high costs, and defining and demonstrating value at the academic cancer centers. The group identified key challenges and possible solutions to addressing these issues. The findings and recommendations of the Work Group were then presented at the Value, Access, and Cost of Cancer Care Policy Summit in September 2015 and multi-stakeholder roundtable panel discussions explored these findings and recommendations along with additional items.
Thomas A. D’Amico, Lindsey A.M. Bandini, Alan Balch, Al B. Benson III, Stephen B. Edge, C. Lyn Fitzgerald, Robert J. Green, Wui-Jin Koh, Michael Kolodziej, Shaji Kumar, Neal J. Meropol, James L. Mohler, David Pfister, Ronald S. Walters and Robert W. Carlson
Although oncology care has evolved, outcome assessment remains a key challenge. Outcome measurement requires identification and adoption of a succinct list of metrics indicative of high-quality cancer care for use within and across healthcare systems. NCCN established an advisory committee, the NCCN Quality and Outcomes Committee, consisting of provider experts from NCCN Member Institutions and other stakeholders, including payers and patient advocacy, community oncology, and health information technology representatives, to review the existing quality landscape and identify contemporary, relevant cancer quality and outcomes measures by reevaluating validated measures for endorsement and proposing new measure concepts to fill crucial gaps. This manuscript reports on 22 measures and concepts; 15 that align with existing measures and 7 that are new.
Robert W. Carlson, Susan Moench, Arti Hurria, Lodovico Balducci, Harold J. Burstein, Lori J. Goldstein, William J. Gradishar, Kevin S. Hughes, Mohammad Jahanzeb, Stuart M. Lichtman, Lawrence B. Marks, Joan S. McClure, Beryl McCormick, Lisle M. Nabell, Lori J. Pierce, Mary Lou Smith, Neal S. Topham, Tiffany A. Traina, John H. Ward and Eric P. Winer
Breast cancer is common in older women, and the segment of the U.S. population aged 65 years and older is growing rapidly. Consequently, awareness is increasing of the need to identify breast cancer treatment recommendations to assure optimal, individualized treatment of older women with breast cancer. However, the development of these recommendations is limited by the heterogeneous nature of this population with respect to functional status, social support, life expectancy, and the presence of comorbidities, and by the underrepresentation of older patients with breast cancer in randomized clinical trials. The NCCN Breast Cancer in the Older Woman Task Force was convened to provide a forum for framing relevant questions on topics that impact older women with early-stage, locally advanced, and metastatic breast cancer. The task force is a multidisciplinary panel of 18 experts in breast cancer representing medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, geriatric oncology, geriatrics, plastic surgery, and patient advocacy. All task force members were from NCCN institutions and were identified and invited solely by NCCN. Members were charged with identifying evidence relevant to their specific expertise. During a 2-day meeting, individual members provided didactic presentations; these presentations were followed by extensive discussions during which areas of consensus and controversy were identified on topics such as defining the “older” breast cancer patient; geriatric assessment tools in the oncology setting; attitudes of older patients with breast cancer and their physicians; tumor biology in older versus younger women with breast cancer; implementation of specific interventions in older patients with breast cancer, such as curative surgery, surgical axillary staging, radiation therapy, reconstructive surgery, endocrine therapy, chemotherapy, HER2-directed therapy, and supportive therapies; and areas requiring future studies. (JNCCN 2008;6[Suppl 4]:S1–S25)
Robert W. Carlson, Susan J. Moench, M. Elizabeth H. Hammond, Edith A. Perez, Harold J. Burstein, D. Craig Allred, Charles L. Vogel, Lori J. Goldstein, George Somlo, William J. Gradishar, Clifford A. Hudis, Mohammad Jahanzeb, Azadeh Stark, Antonio C. Wolff, Michael F. Press, Eric P. Winer, Soonmyung Paik, Britt-Marie Ljung and for the NCCN HER2 Testing in Breast Cancer Task Force
The NCCN HER2 Testing in Breast Cancer Task Force was convened to critically evaluate the ability of the level of HER2 expression or gene amplification in breast cancer tumors to serve as a prognostic and a predictive factor in the metastatic and adjuvant settings, to assess the reliability of the methods of measuring HER2 expression or gene amplification in the laboratory, and to make recommendations regarding the interpretation of test results. The Task Force is a multidisciplinary panel of 24 experts in breast cancer representing the disciplines of medical oncology, pathology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, epidemiology, and patient advocacy. Invited members included members of the NCCN Breast Cancer Panel and other needed experts selected solely by the NCCN. During a 2-day meeting, individual task force members provided didactic presentations critically evaluating important aspects of HER2 biology and epidemiology: HER2 as a prognostic and predictive factor; results from clinical trials in which trastuzumab was used as a targeted therapy against HER2 in the adjuvant and metastatic settings; the available testing methodologies for HER2, including sensitivity, specificity, and ability to provide prognostic and predictive information; and the principles on which HER2 testing should be based. Each task force member was charged with identifying evidence relevant to their specific expertise and presentation. Following the presentations, an evidence-based consensus approach was used to formulate recommendations relating to the pathologic and clinical application of the evidence to breast cancer patient evaluation and care. In areas of controversy, this process extended beyond the meeting to achieve consensus. The Task Force concluded that accurate assignment of the HER2 status of invasive breast cancer is essential to clinical decision making in the treatment of breast cancer in both adjuvant and metastatic settings. Formal validation and concordance testing should be performed and reported by laboratories performing HER2 testing for clinical purposes. If appropriate quality control/ assurance procedures are in place, either immunohistochemistry (IHC) or fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) methods may be used. A tumor with an IHC score of 0 or1+, an average HER2 gene/chromosome 17 ratio of less than 1.8, or an average number of HER2 gene copies/cell of 4 or less as determined by FISH is considered to be HER2 negative. A tumor with an IHC score of 3+, an average HER2 gene/chromosome 17 ratio of greater than 2.2 by FISH, or an average number of HER2 gene copies/cell of 6 or greater is considered HER2 positive. A tumor with an IHC score of 2+ should be further tested using FISH, with HER2 status determined by the FISH result. Tumor samples with an average HER2 gene/chromosome ratio of 1.8 to 2.2 or average number of HER2 gene copies/cell in the range of greater than 4 to less than 6 are considered to be borderline, and strategies to assign the HER2 status of such samples are proposed. (JNCCN 2006;4(Suppl 3):S1–S22)
Robert W. Carlson, Elizabeth Brown, Harold J. Burstein, William J. Gradishar, Clifford A. Hudis, Charles Loprinzi, Eleftherios Paul Mamounas, Edith A. Perez, Kathleen Pritchard, Peter Ravdin, Abram Recht, George Somlo, Richard L. Theriault, Eric P. Winer, Antonio C. Wolff and for the NCCN Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer Task Force
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) first published the NCCN Breast Cancer Treatment Guidelines in 1996. The Guidelines address the treatment of all stages of breast cancer across the spectrum of patient care and have been updated yearly. Adjuvant therapy for breast cancer has undergone an especially rapid evolution over the past few years. Therefore, the NCCN Breast Cancer Guidelines Panel was supplemented by additional experts to form the Adjuvant Therapy Task Force to provide a forum for an extended discussion and expanded input to the adjuvant therapy recommendations for the Breast Cancer Treatment Guidelines. Issues discussed included methods of risk-stratification for recurrence; how biologic markers such as HER2 status, quantitative estrogen receptor, or genetic markers can be incorporated as prognostic or predictive factors; and how age, menopausal status, and estrogen receptor levels impact benefits from chemotherapy and endocrine therapy. Additionally, the task force discussed the strategies for use of aromatase inhibitors in postmenopausal women and the potential incorporation of trastuzumab into adjuvant therapy of women with HER2/neu positive breast cancer. This supplement summarizes the background data and ensuing discussion from the Adjvuant Task Force meeting. (JNCCN 2006;4[suppl 1]:S-1–S-26)