At the conclusion of the Summit, Mr. Kean provided a wrap-up of the day’s discussions and offered some thoughts for consideration. He noted that the concept of keeping the patient at the center of focus came up again and again. Many participants spoke about patient-focused or patient-centered services, about gathering patient perspectives on their experiences, and about patient empowerment. With regard to cancer prevention, there were some provocative ideas around diet, weight control, physical activity, and reducing tobacco use, he said.
Many discussions focused on research opportunities, but there was also frequent mention of a lack of metrics, methodologic and analytic tools, and technologies needed to accomplish the goals identified. For example, health IT is often looked upon as the solution to many ongoing challenges in cancer research and care, but there are also many challenges associated with implementing effective, integrated IT systems.
Many participants emphasized the need to both increase the quality and lower the cost of cancer care. In some ways, these goals may seem at odds with each other, but aligning incentives of patients, physicians, and payors could help to achieve both goals, Mr. Kean observed. At the same time, impending workforce shortages in oncology care and continuing disparities in access to health care among various populations and geographical regions will have to be considered as well, he noted. The ACA aims to address such disparities, but implementation of many provisions remains uncertain and will likely vary among the states.
Mr. Kean noted that several participants suggested that the cancer field is in a position to lead the charge in trying to solve some of these difficult challenges, because of the infrastructure and mechanisms that are in place. At the same time, he noted that the cancer community is under incredible pressure to do more with fewer resources. Acknowledging these challenges, he called on Summit participants to work on concrete ideas to improve the quality of cancer research and care.
ACS (American Cancer Society). 2010. Cancer facts and figures 2010. Atlanta, GA.
Brookings Institution. 2011. 2010 Conference on clinical cancer research. http://www.brookings.edu/events/2010/1020_clinical_cancer.aspx (accessed January 10, 2011).
Bruckbauer, S., J. Contreras, and P. Tuovinen. 2010. The 111th Congress winds down. NCI Cancer Bulletin 7(22):8.