By James Talcott, MD, SM, senior medical director, Oncology for Eviti, NantHealth.
A recent study from the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that while the U.S. spends nearly two times more per capita on cancer treatments, related mortality rates were only nominally lower. The analysis was a cross-sectional review of 22 high-income countries assessing the correlation between cancer treatment expenditures and 2020-associated fatalities.
In fact, nine of those listed—countries that invested significantly less in cancer care—have lower mortality rates. This study proposes an interesting new perspective: increased spending does not guarantee better results.
So how, then, can we optimize care? As new cancer treatments are constantly emerging, it can become overwhelming for providers to sift through data and treatment options to find the most appropriate—and cost-effective—plan for patients. Oftentimes, patients see quicker and more efficacious results when directed to the right treatment plan early on. This is where early intervention and treatment-validation technology becomes a key factor in optimized cancer care.
Improved Visibility and Patient Empowerment
Treatment-validation technology connects payers and providers, offering access to an advanced research library platform supplying tools and data analytics for the delivery of high-quality care. Clinicians can view thousands of proven treatment regimens, federally registered clinical trials, expected treatment outcomes, and predicted costs, all during the process of curating the best plan for their patients.
The ultimate goal in cancer care is singling out the most efficient and direct treatment plan—bypassing lengthy (and often costly) trial and error methods. In addition, when the patient is empowered with options and stated preferences, based on provider information, they help gain an understanding of the benefits as well as potential side effects of available treatments. This builds and promotes important conversations between them and their physician about their treatment course ahead.
Treatment-validation technology offers improvements for payers, patients, and providers. It enables providers to compare thousands of evidence-based, nationally endorsed treatment options and clinical trials intelligently and automatically while empowering payers to validate and accept treatment regimens more quickly via shared evidence-based resources. Moreover, rapid diagnosis paired with rapid treatment validation, supports patient outcomes—providers can start patients on a regimen expeditiously, promptly, and armed with tools to target and treat symptoms, helping to contain the spread and slow progression. Ideally, these steps will improve chances for recovery, shorten hospital stays and therapy regimes, while reducing overall expenditures and out-of-pocket patient costs.
Aligning Diverse Interests for Enhanced Preparation
Treatment-validation allows providers to trust they are implementing decisions based on the most current data available, incorporating medical evidence to support care decisions in addition to a breakdown of anticipated costs and expenses. Also, predictive analytics identifies potential medical hazards and adverse reactions to treatment that might be encountered along the way and offer proactive solutions.
Data overload and redundant, superfluous administrative tasks are a growing concern in health care, especially for cancer treatments. Treatment-validation’s automated process reduces lengthy bureaucratic anxieties; these tasks include obtaining and documenting authorizations, ensuring appropriate reimbursement, and aligning payers and physicians in the best interest of patients all while limiting appeals and denials.
Treatment-validation systems include access to an online library of proven treatment methods endorsed by respected medical authorities. This component supports and reinforces decisions, explores possible alternatives, and provides an expanded and authoritative catalog of recognized approaches. Optimizing outcomes is more than lowering costs and choosing the newest treatment options—it’s centered on carefully selecting the right approach based on a patient’s unique circumstances and orchestrating an entire support system, establishing a relationship between all parties involved: the payer, provider, and patient.
The challenges providers face in sifting through the flood of data related to cancer care can be overwhelming, formidable, and counterproductive. Treatment-validation technology helps assimilate, streamline, and integrate the process so providers can conserve time and resources, worry less about pouring over excessive data, and direct their focus on their patients.
By utilizing available technology to determine the best course of action early in the treatment process, providers can greatly improve patient outcomes without increasing costs. Early intervention supported by treatment-validation technology has proven an effective tool and is poised to be a key resource for physicians and health plans in years to come.