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Dr. Patel's Outlook on Cancer Care's Bright Future


Despite rapid advancements in treatment, the discovery of new drugs, and new technology aimed at improving patient outcomes, the overall performance of the U.S. healthcare system is still not meeting our expectations. The inefficiencies that plague the industry are no secret. We know most of them can be attributed to perverse incentives fueling a fragmented, relatively unorganized and uncoordinated delivery system.

At the same time, however, oncology care is advancing at a rapid pace, with improvements in survival rates leading to more cancer survivors than ever before. Complete remission is attainable for many who might otherwise have faced certain death. For others, cancer can become a chronic condition that must be managed by a care team. Not to mention quality of life advancements, which are equally remarkable.

With so many new cancer therapies coming on the market, the future is bright. However, a 2016 report from the Institute of Medicine concluded that cancer treatment in the U.S. lacks in consistent quality and is neither patient-centric nor well-coordinated. Many steps have been taken to remedy this including the Oncology Care Model, which encourages practices to focus on numerous patient-centered efforts.

The oncology landscape has changed rapidly.

I began practicing oncology in a three-physician outpatient clinic in 2002, just at the time that the oncology space began to transition from the average wholesale price world to average sale price. Since then, the landscape has changed rapidly, with payers altering fee schedules several times in the pursuit of a more efficient and cost-effective model. In this time, we have also seen several pilot programs, from payer-provider partnerships at a regional level to government interventions geared at addressing perverse incentives.

I have been part of the transition from the decades-old chemotherapy regimens to better supportive care with growth factors and targeted therapies. I am witnessing a paradigm shift from region-specific treatment to site agnostic and biology-specific targeted treatment. I have seen oncology evolving from a macro, site-specific approach to a micro, cell-signaling and checkpoint inhibition approach. At the same time, the precision medicine revolution is making great strides and genomic data is now available to us.

The industry is at a critical inflection point in how we treat cancer.

Today, we find ourselves at a critical inflection point in how we treat cancer. There have been more changes in the last 10 years than the previous 100. This shift has come with its own set of challenges. Likewise, there are innovative ways for all parties to keep pace with the change while avoiding the pitfalls of creating silos in the treatment of cancer.

With outreach to health systems and providers, Premier® is a trailblazer in helping the industry transition to a truly patient-centric care model. I am excited to be working with them to:

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of participating in an interdisciplinary, multi-stakeholder conversation on precision medicine that Premier Applied Sciences® convened. These types of conversations, which Premier is uniquely positioned to foster, are instrumental in advancing care coordination.

In the next phase of my profession, I’ll be expanding my scope from providing care to individual patients to working with an organization that can help facilitate the changes needed to address the various challenges our industry faces.

To learn more about Premier Applied Sciences, visit the website.

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