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New ACCC Report Focuses on Immuno-Oncology, Cancer Care Delivery

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As innovations in immunotherapies multiply, cancer programs and practices must overcome care coordination and communication challenges across the nation’s health-care system to integrate these advances into effective patient care. A new report from the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) titled, “Immuno-Oncology: Transforming the Delivery of Cancer Care in the Community,” explores ACCC’s actions to reduce these barriers with education, peer-to-peer learning, and real-time solutions.

Immunotherapy Delivery and Management

A recent ACCC survey of more than 200 cancer centers showed that 96% of respondents report they are prescribing immunotherapies if appropriate for the patient’s treatment. Yet nearly 40% said they are either “very uncomfortable” or “somewhat uncomfortable” with managing immune-related adverse events and side effects.  

These findings underscore an urgent need for education, support, and resources on how to integrate emerging immunotherapies, new indications, and evolving knowledge about the toxicities related to these treatments into practice. The ACCC report offers insights, resources, and education, detailing real-world challenges and solutions identified through ACCC’s immuno-oncology initiative in 2017. Included is a summary of the year’s most significant immunotherapy research and clinical developments, as well as effective approaches for cancer programs and providers in the management of immune-related adverse events, patient education, and coordination of care with specialists (such as dermatologists, endocrinologists, pulmonologists, and radiologists) who may see patients treated with immunotherapies for cancer.

Immunotherapy is recognized as a paradigm shift in cancer care. The ACCC report provides important perspective on the ripple effect of this new paradigm on the patient’s treatment experience, on cancer care processes and the multidisciplinary team, and on other health-care providers involved in the patient’s care.

Education and Communication

“As the [immuno-oncology] clinical landscape and volume of information evolves, establishing effective education and strong lines of communication become even more important—for every member of the care delivery team,” said Advisory Committee Chair Lee S. Schwartzberg, MD, FACP, Chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology and Professor of Medicine at the University of Tennessee; and Executive Director of The West Cancer Center. “ACCC meets these critical needs with peer-driven, need-to-know resources that share effective practices and create opportunities for real-time, clinician-to-clinician conversations about care delivery for patients on immunotherapy for cancer.”

The report explores the latest ACCC immuno-oncology resources on clinical optimization, coverage and reimbursement, operational effective practices, and patient access. Included are actionable steps for integrating new therapies into practice, along with a comprehensive look at the latest information on managing immune-related adverse events.

In today’s health-care landscape, immuno-oncology agents are center stage not only because of the new hope they bring for many patients with cancer, but also because these costly therapies are at the intersection of cost, value, and innovation in cancer treatment. The ACCC report looks at stakeholders’ critical policy, access, and value concerns and points to four priority areas for 2018:

  • Addressing the role of biomarkers to address cost mitigation
  • Understanding the variation in coverage for immunotherapy under different health plans
  • Identifying meaningful quality measures in value-based programs
  • Developing strategies to ensure practice sustainability in risk-sharing payment models.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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