ASCO has launched PracticeNET, a collaborative network in which practices will share and receive insights to enhance their business operations and quality of care. PracticeNET is the first initiative of ASCO’s newly-formed Clinical Affairs Department, which is dedicated to providing services, education, and resources to support oncology practices in order to promote the delivery of high quality, high value cancer care for people living with cancer.
“Oncologists have an urgent need to improve operational efficiencies and the patient experience in the midst of a rapidly changing practice environment. While health services research provides an evidentiary knowledge base, practitioners need longitudinally benchmarked performance assessments and a venue with which to share best practices with their peers,” said ASCO President Peter P. Yu, MD, FACP, FASCO. “PracticeNET will now give oncology practices opportunities for acquiring business knowledge, dynamic trend analysis and reducing unwarranted variation in care. The result will be a beneficial difference in the lives of people living with cancer.”
ASCO is currently recruiting practices for PracticeNET. Participating practices will submit business, operational, administrative and quality data on a monthly basis and will receive quarterly reports measuring their practice and individual physicians against the database of PracticeNET participants. They will also receive an annual “state of your practice” assessment on key production and cost measurements and will be able to request reports to meet their individual practice needs. In addition, PracticeNET participants will have opportunities for interactive, collaborative meetings with their peers. ASCO’s vision is for PracticeNET to become the largest oncology practice collaborative network of its kind, allowing greater opportunities for sharing, assessment, reporting, and finding new trends and patterns.
The Society recently announced that Stephen S. Grubbs, MD, a community oncologist and managing partner at Medical Oncology Hematology Consultants, PA, in Newark, Del., has been named the Senior Director of the Clinical Affairs Department. Dr. Grubbs will begin his new role on a part-time basis in June 2015, before fully transitioning into it in July.
In addition, two leaders in the field of oncology business metrics and practice improvement have recently joined ASCO’s Clinical Affairs Department and will guide the PracticeNET initiative.
Elaine L. Towle, CMPE, is Director of Analysis and Consulting Services for ASCO’s Clinical Affairs Department. Previously she was Director of Consulting Services for Oncology Metrics and was responsible for the development of programs and services focusing on clinical, financial and operational excellence for practicing community oncology providers, and worked closely with the Oncology Circle, a benchmarking and networking collaborative of oncology practices throughout the US. She is also a former practice administrator for a 15-provider medical oncology practice in New Hampshire.
Ms. Towle is a member of ASCO, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and the Association of Community Cancer Centers. She is a past president of the Administrators in Oncology-Hematology Assembly (AOHA) of MGMA and served as a founding member of the ASCO/ AOHA liaison committee. Ms. Towle served as Consultant Editor for ASCO’s Journal of Oncology Practice from 2010 to 2014 and is on the Board of Directors of the Northern New England Clinical Oncology Society, representing physicians, nurses and administrators in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
Ms. Towle holds a graduate certificate in Community Health Care Management from Antioch New England Graduate School and a certificate of completion from the American Medical Informatics Association for their 10x10 course with Oregon Health & Sciences University.
Thomas R. Barr, MBA, is the Director of Business Metrics and Analysis for ASCO’s Clinical Affairs Department. He is a founder of the Oncology Circle and the originator of the National Practice Benchmark in Oncology, the authoritative source of benchmarks in oncology. He is the principal author of Trends from the National Practice Benchmark, a series of articles available through the Journal of Oncology Practice. In cooperation with physician leadership of the Oncology Circle, he developed the BIG6, the first systematic measurement of the availability of essential clinical information in searchable data fields in electronic medical records. He also served on ASCO’s Clinical Practice Committee and was the first Liaison between ASCO and AOHA. Mr. Barr also founded Oncology Metrics in 2002, and has served as the CEO of Texas Cancer Care, Vice President of Oncology Network Development for Accountable Oncology and a contract specialist for the hospital and faculty practice plan at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Mr. Barr earned his MBA from the Darla Moore School of the Business at University of South Carolina with program emphasis on economics and marketing.