ASCO Releases Assessment of Oncology Clinical Pathways Landscape

Feb 26, 2018

Earlier this year, ASCO published its “Report on the Oncology Clinical Pathways Market Landscape” in the Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP). The report evaluates national oncology pathway vendors, using ASCO’s criteria for high-quality clinical pathways, to help stakeholders better navigate the current pathway environment. Clinical pathways are detailed, evidence-based treatment protocols that delineate optimal treatment options for patients with cancer and may include recommended dosing, time frames, and sequencing of therapies.

ASCO’s Pathways Task Force identified prominent vendors in the oncology clinical pathways market. The task force then compared the vendor’s products to the Society’s pathways criteria, using publicly available information from company websites, press releases, and academic and lay press articles. Telephone interviews with vendor representatives then solidified, and in some cases supplemented, the task force’s assessments.

The report shows wide variability in design, implementation, and use among the oncology clinical pathways and decision support tools they evaluated. This stems from the diversity in customer focus of each of the vendors. Following this review, ASCO is tasked with considering further refinement of the criteria to continuously ensure fair assessment of vendors and value to ASCO members and stakeholders.

As providers, payers, and health care systems are increasingly adopting these treatment management tools, it can be challenging for an oncology practice to know if a specific clinical pathway program is developed and implemented in a way that will ensure high-quality cancer care for patients. ASCO developed a checklist to help practices determine if an oncology clinical pathway meets, partially meets, or doesn’t meet the criteria for high-quality pathways. The full checklist is available for download.

In 2016, ASCO released a policy statement on clinical pathways in oncology which called for the development of robust criteria to support certification of oncology pathway programs. ASCO’s report on the clinical pathways landscape marks the next step in fulfilling the recommendations in ASCO’s policy statement on oncology pathways. 

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