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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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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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Robert W. Carlson, Jonathan K. Larsen, Joan McClure, C. Lyn Fitzgerald, Alan P. Venook, Al B. Benson III and Benjamin O. Anderson

The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) are evidence- and consensus-based clinical practice guidelines addressing malignancies that affect more than 97% of all patients with cancer in the United States. The NCCN Guidelines are used extensively in the United States and globally. Use of the guidelines outside the United States has driven the need to adapt the guidelines based on local, regional, or national resources. The NCCN Guidelines Panels created, vetted, and continually update the NCCN Guidelines based on published scientific data on cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment efficacy. The guidelines are developed within the context of commonly available resources, methods of payment, societal and cultural expectations, and governmental regulations as they exist in the United States. Although many of the cancer management recommendations contained in the NCCN Guidelines apply broadly from a global perspective, not all do. Disparities in availability and access to health care exist among countries, within countries, and among different social groups in the same country, especially regarding resources for cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment. In addition, different drug approval and payment processes result in regional variation in availability of and access to cancer treatment, especially highly expensive agents and radiation therapy. Differences in cancer risk, predictive biomarker expression, and pharmacogenetics exist across ethnic and racial groups, and therefore across geographic locations. Cultural and societal expectations and requirements may also require modification of NCCN Guidelines for use outside the United States. This article describes the adaptation process, using the recent Latin American adaptation of the 2013 NCCN Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer as an example.

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Paul F. Engstrom, Mara G. Bloom, George Daniel Demetri, Phillip G. Febbo, William Goeckeler, Marc Ladanyi, Bryan Loy, Kate Murphy, Michael Nerenberg, Paul Papagni, Mark Robson, Robert W. Sweetman, Sean Tunis, Jessica DeMartino and Jonathan K. Larsen

Personalized medicine in oncology is maturing and evolving rapidly, and the use of molecular biomarkers in clinical decision-making is growing. This raises important issues regarding the safe, effective, and efficient deployment of molecular tests to guide appropriate care, specifically regarding laboratory-developed tests and companion diagnostics. In May 2011, NCCN assembled a work group composed of thought leaders from NCCN Member Institutions and other organizations to identify challenges and provide guidance regarding molecular testing in oncology and its corresponding utility from clinical, scientific, and coverage policy standpoints. The NCCN Molecular Testing Work Group identified challenges surrounding molecular testing, including health care provider knowledge, determining clinical utility, coding and billing for molecular tests, maintaining clinical and analytic validity of molecular tests, efficient use of specimens, and building clinical evidence.

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Andrew D. Zelenetz, Islah Ahmed, Edward Louis Braud, James D. Cross, Nancy Davenport-Ennis, Barry D. Dickinson, Steven E. Goldberg, Scott Gottlieb, Philip E. Johnson, Gary H. Lyman, Richard Markus, Ursula A. Matulonis, Denise Reinke, Edward C. Li, Jessica DeMartino, Jonathan K. Larsen and James M. Hoffman

Biologics are essential to oncology care. As patents for older biologics begin to expire, the United States is developing an abbreviated regulatory process for the approval of similar biologics (biosimilars), which raises important considerations for the safe and appropriate incorporation of biosimilars into clinical practice for patients with cancer. The potential for biosimilars to reduce the cost of biologics, which are often high-cost components of oncology care, was the impetus behind the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009, a part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. In March 2011, NCCN assembled a work group consisting of thought leaders from NCCN Member Institutions and other organizations, to provide guidance regarding the challenges health care providers and other key stakeholders face in incorporating biosimilars in health care practice. The work group identified challenges surrounding biosimilars, including health care provider knowledge, substitution practices, pharmacovigilance, naming and product tracking, coverage and reimbursement, use in off-label settings, and data requirements for approval.