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Experts Weigh in on Controversial Issue of Determining Value of Cancer Care at NCCN Conference
Date:3/16/2009

A roundtable led by Clifford Goodman, PhD, at the NCCN 14th Annual Conference, presented various views on "Finding and Achieving Value in Cancer Care." The panel of experts tackled the spectrum of issues related to defining value, and the concern that the benefit to patients of some of the latest cancer treatments may not warrant their costs.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla., March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Oncology is an area of rapid growth, both in terms of technological innovation and costs in cancer care and treatment. Collectively, concerns about the balance between clinical benefit and escalating costs have been framed as questions of health care "value." At the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's 14th Annual Conference, Clifford Goodman, PhD, of the Lewin Group, led an engaging roundtable debating the definition, measurement, and application of value in oncology.

Panel participants Stephen Edge, MD, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and Joseph Bailes, MD, of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, began by framing the concept of value in cancer care as a "twenty-first century" idea that has come to the forefront of oncology practice only in the past 5 to 10 years.

Lynn Zonakis of Delta Airlines described how the dramatically uneven distribution of health care costs has driven the discussion of value for major employers. Ms. Zonakis illustrated this point with data on Delta's beneficiaries -- of 200,000 beneficiaries with an active population of 82,000, 449 individuals are driving 77 percent of Delta's health care costs. Of this subset, approximately 25 percent of the individuals have a cancer diagnosis.

Discussions surrounding the cost of cancer care and how cost should or should not be incorporated into the value equation led to debate. Lee Newcomer, MD, MHA, of UnitedHealthcare stated achieving value in cancer care occurs when outcomes or overall survival are improved at an affordable
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SOURCE National Comprehensive Cancer Network
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