A Preview of the Clinical Pathways Congress

What will practitioners, payers, and advocates learn at this year’s conference?

Attendees will hear firsthand how clinical pathways play an integral part in the management of patients with ovarian, prostate, and non–small cell lung cancer. We will also be conducting a mock pathway development session in breast cancer. I think that some clinicians, even those who are committed to clinical pathways, may not realize all the work that goes into developing a specific pathways program. The chance to be involved in creating a pathway from the ground up should be an eye-opening experience for stakeholders coming from all sides of the clinical pathways conversation.

How does this year’s Clinical Pathways Congress anticipate future developments in the field?

We will hear how the use of clinical pathways has changed the patient management culture in a large oncology practice taking on greater accountability for both financial and quality performance. Financial and clinical outcomes performance are key to as we move forward with the Oncology Care Model and accountable care organizations care models. We are constantly moving in a direction of accountable care, which influences everything related to the care we deliver.

JCP also spoke with Andrew Hertler, MD, FACP, chief medical officer of New Century Health (Brea, CA). Dr Hertler will present “The Integration of Genomics Into Clinical Pathways,” a presentation that addresses the potential benefits of adding and valuing genomic testing to clinical pathway programs.

How are pathway programs improved through the integration of genomics?

There are many benefits to be gained through the integration of genomics into clinical pathways. First, the availability benefits patients, because it can guide them to therapies that have a higher likelihood of working. In this respect, they can also aid in the management of potential “financial toxicity,” because there will be a higher likelihood of avoiding therapies that are likely to fail and then require further therapies. Genomics can also help oncologists in terms of providing guidance in test selection, interpretation, and therapy selection in the face of an increasingly complex and rapidly changing genomic database. It also helps delivery stakeholders focused on value-based care in the development of advanced clinical management strategies.

Are there matters of tension between the use of genomic testing and the design/implementation of pathways?

There does not have to be tension between the use of genomic testing and the design and implementation of pathways. Genomics, along with tumor type, defines an increasing number of “unique diseases.” This will in turn lead to the development of increasingly granular pathways. These pathways will be needed by physicians to manage the increasing clinical complexity driven by a massive database.

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