Bringing Value to Cancer Care


How a tool is helping execs define and measure value in oncology.

Cancer cells

Maximizing value in healthcare, especially for patients, employees, and covered populations, has always been an important goal for healthcare executives.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States, with approximately 234,030 new cases and 154,050 deaths expected in 2018, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Approximately 85% of all lung cancer cases are classified as non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and more than half (57%) of incident cases present at an advanced stage, according to the American Cancer Society. According to the National Institutes of Health, the published literature suggests that NSCLC is the fifth costliest tumor in the United States, with an estimated 2016 national expenditure of approximately $13.6 billion.

It’s in this vein that the Innovation and Value Initiative (IVI), a non-profit organization advancing the science and practice of healthcare value assessment, released its Open-Source Value Project (OSVP) to focus on NSCLC.

“Executives have traditionally lacked important information to define and measure what value means to them,” says Jennifer Bright, executive director, IVI. “The good news is progress is being made. Through the advancement of value assessment science and methods, including the open-source approach at IVI, we’re gaining more nuanced and user-specific insights on value.” 

Related: 4 Ways Precision Medicine Impacts Cancer Treatment

IVI’s approach aims to drive this innovation methods by developing iterative, open-source models, according to Bright. “This collaborative approach ensures that real-world decision makers have a voice in how value is assessed and, ultimately, have the most relevant and credible information on the value of treatment strategies in and across disease areas,” she says.

The goal, she says, is to bring healthcare executives insights into value that previously may have been overlooked but are important to covered populations.

“Currently we can use our open-source models as case studies to begin to show how value estimates can be tailored to specific settings, sub-populations and users by incorporating patient perspectives,” Bright says. “As value-based care continues to grow and decision makers seek out the best options ... open-source models offer a differentiating approach to thinking about value. And being open-source means we welcome input about how to improve model structure to meet tailored needs.”

After the initial release of the model (IVI-NSCLC) in November, IVI initiated an eight-week open comment period, which ended April 1. All of the public comments submitted to IVI are now posted on IVI’s website. The comments will be reviewed by a Technical Expert Panel (TEP) engaged by IVI to synthesize feedback and recommend prioritized modifications. The TEP will issue a final report with prioritized recommendations for model improvements later in 2019. The report will guide subsequent model updates.

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