August 2013 Vol 6, No 6 Special Issue

Chicago, IL—Removing copays may help boost mammography screening rates for all age-groups above age 40 years. One insurer found a significant increase in screening rates with the removal of a copay, said Jeffrey M. Peppercorn, MD, MPH, Medical Oncologist at Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC.

A significant number of middle-aged women who live in rural locales do not pursue even biennial breast cancer screening, and cost may play a role, according to insurance claims data Dr Peppercorn presented at ASCO 2013.

Chicago, IL—The rapid advances in cancer treatment, especially in personalized medicine, are occurring at an enormous financial cost to the healthcare system. “If we really want to make progress in an economically viable way, we must spend as much time on the economics of drug development as on the basic science,” said Kevin A.

Chicago, IL—Inappropriate deviation from evidence-based standards of care for cancer raises costs in excess of $25,000 per patient, stated Arlene A. Forastiere, MD, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at eviti, Inc, Philadelphia, PA, in a poster presented at the 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.

In Dr Forastiere’s review of oncology treatment plans for 2544 patients, approximately 25% of the patients had treatment plans that did not conform to evidence-based standards.

Chicago, IL—For-profit hospitals are more likely than their nonprofit counterparts to treat elderly patients with breast cancer with an expensive form of radiotherapy—despite lacking evidence of its benefit, researchers from the Yale Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy and Effectiveness Research Center reported at ASCO 2013.

Chicago, IL—Although cancer care is not at the front and center of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), oncology experts pointed out significant aspects to monitor as time goes on during a discussion of the topic at ASCO 2013.

Chicago, IL—The use of costly diagnostic imaging of uncertain value is increasing rapidly for patients with localized non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database. Frequent surveillance imaging was found for white patients and for those with higher socioeconomic status, despite lack of evidence for its value and its high cost, said Jason D. Wright, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Gyne­cologic Oncology, Columbia Univer­sity, New York, at ASCO 2013.

Chicago, IL—Routine surveillance imaging is of little value in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) or classical Hodgkin lymphoma who are in remission, researchers from 2 institutions reported.

“DLBCL is clinically aggressive but potentially curable, even after relapse,” said Carrie A. Thompson, MD, Hematology Division, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. “However, the optimal follow-up strategy is not clear.”

Chicago, IL—The number of oral oncolytic drugs has increased dramatically, but despite increased convenience, there is growing concern regarding adherence, said Winson Y. Cheung, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia Division of Medical Oncology, Vancouver, at a session on adherence at ASCO 2013. “Oral drugs shift the onus of treatment adherence from healthcare providers to patients,” Dr Cheung said.

Chicago, IL—Recent surveys of hematologists/oncologists show that drug shortages persist, that oncologists are adapting in ways that often raise the cost of cancer care, and that most oncologists have no guidance to aid their decision-making.

A survey of 250 physicians showed that 83% of physicians encountered shortages of curative and palliative chemotherapy agents between March and September 2012. Many physicians reported that shortages affected the quality and cost of patient care, because physicians were forced to substitute more expensive drugs for cheaper generics.

Chicago, IL—Hospitalizations and readmissions add substantial costs to healthcare. The annual cost of 30-day hospital readmissions in the United States is estimated to be $16 billion. In addition, bundled payment models may eliminate additional payment for readmissions in a specified period after discharge.

Several poster presentations at ASCO 2013 explored factors associated with readmission or unplanned hospitalizations in patients with cancer.

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  •  Association for Value-Based Cancer Care
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  • Oncology Practice Management
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  • Inside Patient Care: Pharmacy & Clinic
  • National Association of Specialty Pharmacy
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