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Jessica K. DeMartino

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Jessica K. DeMartino

Expanding research interests in molecular profiling over the past several years have led researchers in academia and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to significantly increase their need for access to tissue specimens collected through clinical care and clinical trials. As a result, tissue allocation has become a growing issue for many clinical and translational investigators. High-quality biospecimens are needed by all stakeholders in order to have scientifically accurate studies and results. At the center of the process are the patients, who have increasingly become active partners in the clinical research enterprise as individuals and through highly sophisticated patient advocacy organizations. All stakeholders must recognize that human specimens, including tissue, represent a valuable and unique resource that must have proper acquisition, handling, custodianship, and consent for use in accordance with best practices for biospecimen resources.

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Jessica K. DeMartino

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Jessica K. DeMartino

Variations in the quality of cancer care are well documented. A key element of quality monitoring is standardized measures of care. Quality measures may include both process measures and outcome measures. Process measurement is only one aspect of assessing the quality of cancer care; measuring outcomes and providing the appropriate structure for care are also important. A variety of stakeholders, including professional oncology organizations and public and private payors, have developed programs and quality measures to address variations in the delivery of cancer care. To fulfill the current need to explore and discuss how quality is measured in oncology care, NCCN convened the NCCN Oncology Policy Summit: Measuring Quality in Oncology - Challenges and Opportunities. The summit was a forum to discuss current efforts to use quality measures, the value of quality measures, and patient and caretaker perspectives on quality.

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Jessica K. DeMartino

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Jessica K. DeMartino and Jonathan K. Larsen

Rising health care costs and continued concerns about safety, efficacy, and quality have resulted in the demand for more data and evidence by payors, regulators, providers, and patients alike. Stakeholders with different objectives for the use of data are driving the need for more and “better” data. It is important for organizations to not only understand how to handle and collect data but also translate it into actionable information that can help transform health care delivery. Appropriate use of data can lead to reduced health care costs and increased value to all stakeholders. In June 2012, NCCN assembled a work group composed of thought leaders from NCCN Member Institutions and other organizations to identify and examine the challenges of data generation, collection, and application for clinical, regulatory, and coverage decision-making. The NCCN Data Needs Work Group identified 4 main areas for consideration: data sources, patient-derived data, payor-collected data, and regulatory policy toward data generation and use.

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Elizabeth Danielson, Jessica DeMartino and Jill A. Mullen

A previous NCCN Oncology Insights Report™ described the factors making cancer care a priority for managed care organizations (MCOs) and emerging trends in managing costs of cancer care. To better understand the concerns of MCOs and how they are addressing cancer costs and quality, NCCN interviewed senior physician executives from the 3 largest payors in the United States. The interviews provided insights into how these companies managed oncology care, with an emphasis on drugs and biologics. As a follow-up to the previous report, NCCN conducted additional interviews with medical executives from 10 MCOs between February and April 2010. The organizations represented in these interviews were Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota, BlueShield of Michigan, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, HealthNow, Humana, Independence BlueCross, Priority Health, and UnitedHealthcare. Although this group is diverse, it does not constitute a representative cross-section of MCOs across the United States. NCCN interviewed these executives about the priority of cancer care management for their organizations and the strategies being used to address cost and quality of cancer care. The information garnered from these interviews was qualitative in nature. A separate quantitative analysis of trends in oncology managed care has already been published, and throughout this report, data from the 2009–2010 Genentech Oncology Trend Report are referenced to supplement findings from the NCCN interviews.

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Jessica K. DeMartino and Jonathan K. Larsen

The quality of patient care varies based on numerous factors, such as health care setting, geographic location, access to medications, insurance coverage, and treatment protocols. Recently, the issue of whether use of clinical pathways can reduce costs and inappropriate variability in care has been the subject of much debate. As clinical treatment guidelines and pathways are increasingly deployed in oncology practice, they have a growing impact on the quality of treatment and how it is delivered. To fulfill the current need to discuss the use of pathways and clinical treatment guidelines in oncology and to address how patient care is impacted by their use, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network convened the NCCN Oncology Policy Summit: Equity in Cancer Care–Pathways, Protocols, and Guidelines. The summit was a forum to discuss the use and implementation of pathways, including how much flexibility pathways should allow in care, pathways’ impact on public and private health insurance benefit design, what data is used to select pathway regimens and protocols, and ultimately what impact pathways may have on variation in care. The use and implementation of clinical treatment guidelines in practice was also explored from a variety of perspectives.

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Edward C. Li and Jessica DeMartino

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) develops and communicates the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) to oncologists and other clinicians. The NCCN Guidelines are widely recognized and applied as the standard for clinical policy in the United States. These guidelines and related documents, such as the NCCN Drugs & Biologics Compendium (NCCN Compendium), are used extensively by public and private payors as the basis for the setting of coverage policies. Given the demand for comparative effectiveness (CE) analyses, as described and discussed in this report, the NCCN has begun work on a paradigm to integrate evidence-based CE analysis into the NCCN Guidelines deliberative process. This report presents NCCN's initial thinking on the use of NCCN expert panel members in developing a process that can be used to compare health care technologies (e.g., radiation modalities, chemotherapy regimens) in a formal, systematic way. Draft considerations are provided to stimulate discussion and feedback, particularly in the oncology community, as NCCN moves through processes such as methodologic review, validation of rating scales, and review of implications for public policy, toward finalization of an NCCN CE analytic paradigm.