Cancer Care Accelerated

Cancer Care Accelerated

Sharing history, knowledge from Moffitt Cancer Center

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Nancy Ayala

Cancer often forces patients to fight for more than their lives.

Patients and their families face a landscape of uncertainties, from scientific to financial, as well as an emotional toll. There are astronomical drug prices, rapid changes in treatment options, selective insurance coverage and coordination of teams of new specialists.

Emerging treatments confound patients and insurance carriers and can require negotiations to determine if treatments or drugs are even covered. The path forward can be confounding and a Tampa cancer center is navigating that complexity to deliver its unique brand of care anywhere in the world. 

The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute has been building a business plan around developing managed tracks for patients. It is creating a new revenue opportunity by unlocking its organizational knowledge and sharing it with other cancer centers to improve options and integrate care.

related: healthcare investment opportunities

Once diagnosed, patients are given a “pathway” of treatment options, which includes follow-up schedules, possible drug-interaction warnings, dietary suggestions, drug selection and other inputs. This creates a thorough care plan. 

Moffitt’s “pathways” resulted from years of evidence-based modeling in oncology treatment protocols.  By one estimate, 90% of cancer diagnoses could be treated with a pathway Moffitt developed, says Jack Kolosky, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Moffitt Cancer Center.

“Our patient outcomes are better nationally than some of our peers, particularly at the late-stage diagnoses of patients, ” Kolosky says.

Some cancer patient numbers are increasing. By 2020, care costs are projected to reach $158 billion in 2010 dollars—a 27% jump in a decade.

Moffitt executives recognized the potential to share their model with smaller clinics and hospitals. Cancer specialist doctors are seeing business models erode because of payment challenges and hospital-based care. The Moffitt methodology might help smaller practices and rebalance the playing field across the US. Since 2010, more than 200 community cancer practices have closed, according to Zitter Health Insights, even though they deliver care at a lower cost than major medical centers.

Most important: Patients benefit. 

Instead of traveling to specialty cancer centers for lengthy, expensive treatments and being separated from friends and family, patients can get care and services closer to home and at lower costs. Telemedicine and other connective technologies have helped improve the level of care at local cancer treatment centers through connections to experts and programs like Moffitt’s pathways. 

While people are familiar with drug development in pharmaceutical companies, the concept of a pathway being branded or licensed is unique and emerging as a best practice, says BRG's Todd Antonelli. 

“Moffitt needed to explore the revenue potential and value for its knowledge and how to go to market. There are doctors commercializing drugs and receiving royalties, but this is a multimillion-dollar stream of revenue and provides help with a referral system on Stage 3 and 4 cancers,” he says. “At the bottom line, it’s a process that helps other organizations raise their standard of care.”

Nancy Ayala is a New York-based journalist who has worked as a digital producer for CNBC and ABC News, and covered US Hispanic business news for Adweek magazines.

In a study at a Fortune 100 firm, BRG found that 95% of employees who participated in integrative health skills groups felt they would take better care of themselves.
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