U.S. Cancer Care System Poised for Transformation but Challenges Loom Large

Mar 22, 2017

State of Cancer Care in America, 2017 report highlights major opportunities for high-quality cancer care

ASCO has released its fourth annual State of Cancer Care in America, 2017 report, which examines the tremendous transformation that is occurring in the cancer care delivery system. The report, published in the Journal of Oncology Practice and presented at a briefing on Capitol Hill, outlines major progress during the past year, as well as access, affordability, and administrative hurdles that pose barriers to providing high-quality, high-value cancer care for all Americans.

The State of Cancer Care in America, 2017 highlights a groundswell of activity to improve cancer care delivery, including advancements in precision medicine, value-based care delivery, and burgeoning big data initiatives that are breaking new ground to provide insights to improve cancer treatment. The report also notes that access and affordability challenges persist, and increased practice burdens, including administrative and overhead costs, are diverting time and resources from patients.

Despite these challenges, the State of Cancer Care in America, 2017 paints an optimistic vision about the future of the cancer care delivery system and includes the following ASCO recommendations to strengthen the current system and ensure access to high-quality cancer care well into the future:

  • Health insurance. All individuals with cancer should have health insurance that ensures access to high-quality cancer care delivered by a cancer specialist and provides the full range of services needed by patients in a timely manner.
  • Federal funding of the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To ensure the ongoing development and delivery of promising new treatments for patients with cancer, the federal government should provide adequate funding and infrastructure support for cancer research, continue funding the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, and provide adequate resources to the FDA to review and approve the safety and efficacy of cancer therapies and diagnostics efficiently and quickly.
  • Payment reform. As the nation moves from a volume-based to value-based health care reimbursement system, public and private payers should work with oncology providers and patients to develop new payment models that support patient-centered cancer care across health care teams and care delivery settings. Furthermore, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should support testing of multiple models in oncology, including ASCO’s Patient-Centered Oncology Payment model, as potential advanced alternative payment models for oncology care.
  • Electronic health record (EHR) interoperability. To reach the full potential of cancer-specific rapid learning health systems and accelerate the pace of cancer research progress, the White House administration should speed implementation of 21st Century Cures Act provisions to promote the interoperability of EHRs and prevent information blocking.
  • Administrative burden. As regulatory changes have significantly increased the administrative burdens health care providers face daily, policymakers and payers should streamline and standardize documentation and reporting requirements so that oncology professionals are able to focus adequate time and resources on their patients.

Read the complete State of Cancer Care in America, 2017, in the Journal of Oncology Practice. ASCO also offers an illustrated and data-rich synopsis of the report and links to downloadable graphics.

Back to Top