Leading up to the Turning the Tide Against Cancer 2014 national conference, the Age of Personalized Medicine editorial team posed two questions to leaders in the cancer community who will be speaking at the event on October 9 in Washington, D.C. In part one, we asked speakers to share their insights on the role of innovation in advancing cancer research and care. The second question focused on the shift to patient-centered research and care, and how patient-centric approaches can improve healthcare.
QUESTION: What does having a patient-centered healthcare system mean, and why it is important for the healthcare system as a whole?
Here’s what some of the conference speakers had to say:
“Consistent with the IOM definition, patient-centered care is respectful of and responsive to the individual patient’s preferences, needs and values. The days when clinicians make all of the decisions are over. Now that the consumer movement has reached healthcare, patients are becoming empowered to partner with their physicians to get the treatment they believe is best for them. The balance of power is shifting so that decision-making is shared. Within this environment, patients can fully engage in the process of developing and managing their own treatment. This is important because we know that engaged patients have better outcomes, higher levels of satisfaction with their health care, and consume fewer clinical resources.”
“In order to strive for a more patient-centered approach to cancer care, it is important to consider how patients are engaged in defining healthcare priorities, including identifying areas of unmet need and the types of study designs that best reflect the risks and tradeoffs they experience in care practice. Sustained medical innovation plays a central role in meeting these constantly evolving patient needs, which are particularly complex for cancer patients. Moreover, patients are now bearing much more financial responsibility for their care than in the past. The majority of exchange enrollees chose plans in the Silver metal level, which come with average deductibles up to $2,260 and maximum out-of-pocket costs reaching up to $6,350 for in-network care, according to Avalere PlanScape™ analysis. With increased financial accountability, patients, along with their caregivers, are increasingly engaged in making choices regarding the most appropriate treatment. Payment mechanisms for cancer care and new insurance products will need to keep pace with both medical advances and the financial realities facing patients and their caregivers.”
“Cancer care isn’t about cancer and cancer care isn’t about health systems. Nor is it about research or researchers. It’s about real people who are touched by, afflicted with, and hopefully live way beyond the experience of cancer. So fundamentally, we need to build our medical innovations with the patient in mind. For this reason, I’ve always thought we have to have the patient at the center of our data story – where data from one patient tells a longitudinal story across a life and then it’s the data of many patients that are aggregated together to form our foundational data set to support innovation. Similarly, patients need to be the cornerstones of our clinical trials and basic research – our muse.”
“Patient-centered care means exactly that: treatment choices and care that reflect the preferences, needs, and values of someone with cancer, for whom each treatment decision has a profound implication on health and quality of life. Every patient’s experience is unique: for some people, progress means a better prognosis and more time spent with their families; others prioritize treatment that has fewer side effects or is easier to administer. Ultimately, patient-centered care respects these differences and prioritizes the values of each individual person.”
“Personalized and patient-centered cancer care will improve health outcomes by identifying the treatments that work best for individual patients, improving outcomes by avoiding trial and error medicine. To further support patient-centered care, policies must not limit access or push ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment solutions. Patient-centeredness consists of a series of principles focused on patient engagement, patient activation, access to a range of treatments, and shared decision-making. Patient-centered principles must be incorporated into the early phases of evidence development, translation and implementation, as well as in the design and implementation of new payment and delivery reform models for cancer care.”
Visit the Turning the Tide Against Cancer website to register for the conference and learn more about ways you or your organization can support the ongoing initiative. The Age of Personalized Medicine will also be tweeting live from the conference on October 9. Join the conversation with #T3cancer.