May 18, 2010
January 2010 Issue: Providing the best cancer care requires a passionate team of qualified providers. ASCO recognizes the important role that practice management professionals and other health care specialists play in delivering quality care to patients with cancer. As such, the Society offers a wide range of products and benefits to its Affiliate members, to assist them in providing the most effective care to patients and offer the best business support to community practices and academic medical centers.
|ASCO Affiliate member Thomas R. Barr, MBA (photograph by Jon M. Fletcher - www.jonmfletcher.com)|
Affiliate membership is available to oncology nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, practice management professionals, and other health specialists who devote a majority of their professional time to the care and treatment of patients with cancer or who engage in the conduct of clinical trials. Annual dues for Affiliate members are $115, and the benefits are significant.
Thomas R. Barr, MBA, has been an ASCO Affiliate member since 2002, and joined the Society when he was serving as President of the Administrators of Oncology/Hematology Assembly (AOHA). He was the first formal liaison representing that association in ASCO. “ASCO was a great way that I, as a non-clinician, could be exposed to clinical thinking and to stay abreast of trends without actually studying medicine,” Mr. Barr said. “I really appreciate that ASCO is involved in clinical decisions, health care policy, and the business side of oncology as well. [Membership] exposes you to the full spectrum of oncology.”
Affiliate members receive free online access to the Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP), the authoritative resource on clinical and administrative management for the oncology care team. JOP provides oncology professionals with information, news, and tools to enhance practice efficiency and promote a high standard for quality of patient care. The bimonthly publication includes original research, feature articles, and columns on various issues pertinent to daily practice operations, all of which are subject to peer review. Affiliate members also receive discounted online and print subscriptions to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the premier publication for peer-reviewed, groundbreaking clinical oncology research.
“I always read JOP, and I’ve been published in JOP,” Mr. Barr noted. “I find myself using it as a reference. For those of us working on the business side of oncology, JOP is comparable to JCO for clinicians, in that it’s the gold standard. It’s the best of many good sources for me to get information.”
Several member benefits can have a direct effect on the everyday management of an oncology practice. Members can enroll practices in the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®), ASCO’s oncologist-led, practice-based quality improvement program. Members also have access to tools such as ASCO’s Coding and Reimbursement Hotline, Practice Management Audioconferences, and a new Oncology Practice Insider newsletter. ASCO’s respected voice in Washington gives the Society a unique perspective—ASCO offers its member tools to stay current on legal and regulatory issues, and members receive advocacy and policy analysis on issues affecting every aspect of oncology. ASCO offers templates for oncology treatment plans and treatment summaries, which can be used to improve documentation and coordination of cancer treatment and survivorship care, as well as facilitate provider-to-provider and provider-to-patient communication.
Regular electronic communications are one of the benefits Mr. Barr considered most valuable, such as Daily Cancer News, an aggregate of oncology- and ASCO-related stories from mainstream media outlets. “I do a lot of public speaking and write a fair amount, so Daily Cancer News is an easy way for me to find the resources I need to stay current,” he said. Members also receive email updates about FDA drug approvals and off-label drug alerts.
And as always, ASCO’s complete complement of patient resources is available on Cancer.Net, which features oncologist-reviewed content in language appropriate for readers who are not medical professionals.
Additionally, membership in ASCO yields significant savings. Affiliate members save up to 60% off the nonmember registration rate at the ASCO Annual Meeting and co-sponsored thematic symposia, such as the Breast Cancer Symposium, Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium, and Genitourinary Cancers Symposium—and receive advanced access to registration and members-only housing for the Annual Meeting. Affiliate members also receive discounts of 20% to 50% on all ASCO educational products and resources, including Practical Tips for the Oncology Practice (a comprehensive guide to coding, reimbursement, coverage, and regulatory policies) and The Oncology Electronic Health Record Field Guide: Selecting and Implementing an EHR (the only oncology-specific handbook developed to equip practitioners with the information and resources needed to select and implement current and future oncology-specific EHRs for clinical practice and management as well as quality-of-care measurement and improvement).
Affiliate members can also take advantage of the Oncology EHR social networking site, where health care professionals, practice managers, and EHR vendors, among others, share their experiences with EHR products. The site includes blogs about EHR use and forums for questions about selection and implementation.
Mr. Barr was first exposed to ASCO through his work as a practice administrator in a private oncology practice, where most of the physicians were ASCO members. “I was very invested in understanding the language of oncology, even though my responsibilities [at that time] were business-oriented,” he said. Since becoming a member in his own right, he has regularly attended and presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting. “I remember well my first Meeting—I was amazed at how many people came from across the globe to attend. It gave me a sense of the importance and strength of oncology as a market segment of health care,” he recalled.
ASCO’s policy efforts extend to the realm of Affiliate members, offering representation in coalitions that address issues of imaging, reimbursement, and patient advocacy. Members can take advantage of online advocacy tools, like the Grassroots Action Center, to communicate with local, state, and federal legislators who are making decisions about health care policy. “If you really want to keep up on clinical activity, policy, and patient advocacy, ASCO is the best way to do that,” Mr. Barr said.
To learn more about the benefits designed to help ASCO members provide the most complete quality care to patients with cancer, visit benefits.asco.org.