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By James Talcott, MD, SM, Senior Medical Director, Oncology for Eviti at NantHealth
The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2020 new cancer treatment options totaled $208.9 billion. Additionally, an independent health information technology and oncology decision-support company, released results of a multi-year study that the cost of ineffective treatments averaged $25,579 per patient.
Cancer research is ever-evolving, and while patients should be able to trust their provider has the most up-to-date knowledge on treatments, oncologists are faced with an overwhelming sea of evolving data. As they form the strongest approach to treatment, they must weigh health risks and benefits, individual patient medical history and needs, as well as possible trade-offs on different treatment options. And above all else, it is the doctor’s responsibility and duty to ensure their patient receives the best medical regimen possible—a time-consuming and strenuous task.
Health care providers know from experience, that even with the advancing paths of treatment, optimizing outcomes requires more—it necessitates the right medical approach and orchestrating a robust support system that establishes a vital and mutual relationship between all involved: the provider, the patient, and their support system.
How treatment validation enhances care
Ensuring evidence-based treatments on a case-by-case basis for each patient can be a strenuous and tedious task. Providers, in addition to their numerous other responsibilities, are expected to keep up with all the latest, constantly developing research. Payers, as well, require insights into the latest treatment improvements to help make informed decisions to expedite prompt, cost-effective treatments.
In addition, and an unfortunate reality, is that each year more than $10 billion is wasted on unwarranted, non-evidence-based cancer treatments. What’s more, the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that over the course of six months, U.S. hospitals marked up the price of cancer therapies for patients with private health insurance. In some cases, those patients are being charged more than seven times what it costs the hospital to acquire the drugs.
Treatment validation is emerging as a much-needed solution networks are turning to; it offers improvements and results for both patients and providers. Treatment validation enables providers to automatically—and intelligently—compare thousands of evidence-based, nationally-recognized treatment options and clinical trials. To add, treatment validation empowers payers to validate and accept treatment regimens more quickly via a shared evidence-based resource. Rapid diagnosis paired with rapid treatment validation supports patient outcomes. By providing prompt treatment validation, providers can start patients on a regimen more quickly, potentially slowing disease progression, leading to improved care, systematic efficiencies, and a reduction in costs.
Composing a Singular Passage to Quality Medical Deliverance
Cancer treatment is all too often determined by a set of diagnostic circumstances outside uniform, consistent, evidence-based data, and medical intelligence. At times it is not uncommon to find differing means of treatment among distributed provider networks. As the number of viewpoints and shifting data streams deluge a system, treatment regimens stray from uniformity, and often multiple forks emerge on the path to a patient’s treatment journey.
Providers can use treatment validation platforms to eliminate inconsistency by accessing nationally accepted treatment standards when prescribing care. Treatment validation automates a process and cuts bureaucratic constraints, streamlining authorizations to ensure appropriate reimbursement, and aligning payers and doctors in the best interest of their patients.
Singling out the most efficient and direct treatment is the ultimate goal when tackling cancer. It stands as a primary decision point, providing the footing for collaborative health care solutions. Done correctly, this determination sets in motion a rapport in which all concerned parties participate, become emotionally invested, and build expectations, faith, and reliance. When the patient understands the positives and potential detriments regarding possible treatments and is empowered to choose, questions are asked aloud, tradeoffs examined, and conversations, not medical lectures, occur.
Accessing a platform that offers treatment validation data paves a valuable artery connecting patients and physicians to all possible treatments and protocols, delivering effective high-value care at the moment of prescription.
Ease of use
An additional enhancement is that the library is kept up to date by a full team of board-certified oncologists, oncology-certified nurses, and clinical informatics professionals, allowing physicians to trust and rely on the fact they are making treatment decisions based on the most current, exact, and relevant data available.
The library is maintained through a web-based application that automatically provides updates as needed. Plus, the technology is intuitive, easy to understand, and quick to use. Providers can access treatment options in seconds by simply completing a standard online query and filtering results to compare possible options.
Additional benefits treatment validation offers include:
- Supplemental and extended medical evidence which supports treatment decisions
- Examination of expected outcomes, statistical probabilities, and potential hazards
- A breakdown of costs
Intrinsic systematic value
Cancer treatments are inherently costly, and providers are challenged to navigate with different payers. Treatment validation intelligence helps alleviate this obstacle in several ways: it shows treatment options according to the payer’s preferences before treatment even begins; predictive analytics can identify potential conflicts that may be encountered along the way and offer automated, upfront solutions; this system prioritizes interests for the provider, the patient, and payer throughout a potentially lengthy medical process.
As cancer research evolves, the reality is that physicians struggle to manage overwhelming amounts of information related to the benefits, risks, and tradeoffs of therapies and treatments. Access – literally at an oncologist’s fingertips—to treatment validation technology saves time, brings into focus all available options, and ultimately helps to deliver the best care without costly delays. Treatment validation allows cost savings by streamlining workflow and removing unnecessary administrative tasks allowing physicians to make targeted and better-informed decisions.
James Talcott, MD, SM
James Talcott, MD, SM, is a Senior Medical Director, Oncology for Eviti at NantHealth. Dr. Talcott is a medical oncologist, outcomes researcher, and former Oncology Care Model Medical Director. At NantHealth, he develops strategies and tactics for improving the quality and efficiency of cancer care, helping oncology practitioners deliver evidence-based cancer care. Dr. Talcott’s experience ranges from research methodology, outcomes research, and multidisciplinary collaboration. He is an NIH-funded investigator, peer reviewer, and teacher, including 25 years of teaching clinical research design and data analysis at Harvard Medical School, where he served as Assistant Professor at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and as Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Outcomes Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, subsequently Professor of Medicine at Albert Einstein and Mount Sinai medical schools. Talcott earned his M.D. from the Yale University School of Medicine, a Masters in Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford, and a B.S. in Biology from Stanford.
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