Community oncology perspectives on value-based cancer care

Susie BaficoValue-based Care

At the 2019 Association for Value-Based Cancer Care Summit this year, we sat in on a great panel called “Community Oncology Perspectives on Value-based Cancer Care” that focused on community oncology practices. At Navigating Cancer we support community oncology practices across the country, and we’re always looking to learn more. In this post we’ll provide an overview of some of the highlights from this panel discussion.

Panelists in this discussion were: Aaron Lyss, MBA (Tennessee Oncology); David Waterhouse, MD, MPH (Oncology-Hematology Care); Nicolas Ferreyros (Community Oncology Alliance); Russell Gollard, MD (OptumCare Cancer Care); Jeffrey Scott, MD (Integra Connect); Lee Schwartzberg, MD, FACP (OneOncology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center); Bryan Loy, MD, MBA (Humana). This panel looked at both the benefits and challenges of community-based oncology practices. Barry Brooks from Texas Oncology moderated the panel and asked thoughtful questions on key issues community-based practices face in succeeding in value-based cancer care. Here is a rundown of some of the key takeaways and thoughts from the panelists.

Being a community oncologist is rewarding and creates long-term relationships with patients and the community

The advantages of community oncology practices are hard to understate. The panelists agreed that having independence and the ability to be nimble in an ever-changing environment is a strong positive. Community practices embrace their local communities and oncologists find it very powerful to be able to focus on their patients and be with them throughout their entire treatment and survivorship journey.

The data and administrative burden are challenging

The challenges in community oncology bubble up in the form of administrative burden and data management. Smaller practices do not have as much support to optimize their practices for the transformation needed for value-based care. Scaling the value-based care initiatives can be difficult when the use of technology is inconsistent or incomplete. Community-based practices often have struggled with gathering data or scaling, but networks like the US Oncology Network or OneOncology have been partnering with practices to help support the investment required to engage in value-based care.

Making the move to value-based care is best done with data to drive behavior changes

Everyone agreed on the panel that data is one of the most powerful tools a practice has to engage with their physicians. Panelists suggested using rewards and penalties as well as implementing pathways to encourage change. While transformation to value-based care does require a culture shift, and it won’t happen overnight, there are tactics that will get physicians to change their behavior. Sharing claims data and other metrics to encourage healthy competition among providers was suggested by several panelists. One panelist described it as peer pressure inside the community oncology community to reign in any outliers in care delivery, which in turn will promote standardization of care.

Creating whole person care is key to keeping out of ER

When the panel talked about the idea of 24/7 availability, they focused on the ability to help patients stay out of the ER and manage symptoms within their practices. The use of AI predictive analytics can help practices to know which patients are more likely to need after-hours services on nights and weekends to optimize resourcing. Practices are also learning how to intervene sooner by using care management, patient navigators, and triage pathways. They noted that having trained APPs and physicians available for same-day appointments has helped patients avoid the ER, and patients are embracing the new process.

Everyone needs help one way or another through consolidation or vendor support

Consolidation is a reality in the community oncology space as smaller practices struggle to keep up with the policy and reporting changes. Improved efficiency is important for success in value-based care. Plus, doctors are expensive and practices want to ensure they are spending time with patients and not on administrative work. Some panelists considered the idea is less consolidation and more a new and novel way of organizing. This can be true when community oncology practices engage with groups like USON and OneOncology to receive support for investing in value-based care.

Navigating Cancer helps support community oncology practices and collaborates with USON to ensure our comprehensive solution is available for their practices. Want to learn how Navigating Cancer’s patient relationship management platform can help your practice become more efficient in value-based cancer care? Contact us today for a free demo!