New ASCO-COA Oncology Medical Home Standards Set High Bar, Offers Roadmap for Comprehensive High-quality, Patient-Centered Cancer Care Delivery

July 13, 2021

Alexandria, Va. and Washington, DC. –Today, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) jointly released new Oncology Medical Home (OMH) standards, which provide a comprehensive roadmap for oncology practices to deliver high-quality, evidence-based cancer care. These standards, which were published today in JCO Oncology Practice, establish core elements needed to deliver equitable, high-quality cancer care. In releasing the new standards, ASCO and COA seek to achieve a broad consensus among all stakeholders—including patients, clinicians, payers, purchasers, and employers—on what patients with cancer should expect and receive from their cancer care teams.

“Every single patient has the right to high-quality, evidence-based, and cost-effective cancer care. However, our challenge as clinicians and as a broader oncology community has been to define what that high-quality cancer care looks like,” said ASCO President Everett E. Vokes, MD, FASCO. “These new, comprehensive standards will remove ambiguity and serve as a strong foundation for all stakeholders to work together to ensure that every single person receives the care they deserve, throughout the entire patient journey.”

According to ASCO and COA, implementation of the OMH standards will address issues such as appropriate use and safe and efficient delivery of oncology drugs, patient-centered care coordination, effective communication, informed decision making, and planning. By establishing a universal benchmark for high-quality cancer care delivery, the ASCO-COA standards provide an opportunity for the entire oncology community to work towards a value-based model of care that will benefit all patients with cancer.

“These new OMH standards provide oncology practices with a single set of cancer care delivery expectations that benefit patients, practices, and other stakeholders,” said COA President Kashyap Patel, MD. “As practices transition into value-based care delivery, those that adopt this framework will be able to focus on a standardized process that measurably demonstrates high-quality, patient-centered, and efficient care.”

The ASCO/COA standards will form the foundation of a two-year, ASCO-led OMH certification pilot. More details about the pilot will be announced in the coming months.

The new OMH standards feature seven domains of cancer care. Specifically, the standards include:

  1. Patient engagement in and empowerment to share in decision-making about their cancer care. This includes individualized treatment plans, survivorship plans, and access to financial navigation.
  2. Patient access to cancer care at the right time, in the right setting. Providers should use a symptom triage system and offer expanded access to timely office care to minimize emergency room visits. 
  3. Evidence and value-based treatment. Providers should adhere and document their adherence to comprehensive clinical pathways that reflect the latest clinical research, and should recommend and refer patients to clinical trials (as appropriate)
  4. Patient access to equitable, comprehensive, and coordinated, team-based care. Oncology care teams should closely coordinate each patient’s care, and include patient navigation, psychosocial care, and support services as part of the care team. Practices must have policies in place to address health equity, including awareness of conscious/unconscious bias.
  5. Continuous practice quality improvement using data, including patient surveys and patient-reported outcomes, to evaluate and improve processes and outcomes.
  6. Patient access to advance care planning discussions, palliative, and end-of-life care. Practices should also hold a ‘goals of care’ discussion with all patients.
  7. Practice adherence to the highest-level chemotherapy safety standards (as per QOPI® Certification Program (QCP) Standards)

An Oncology Medical Home is a system of care delivery that features coordinated, efficient, accessible, evidence-based care and includes a process for measurement of outcomes as a means of facilitating continuous quality improvement. The concept of a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model, upon which the OMH is based, was first introduced by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1967. Over time, the PCMH has come to be viewed as a system for health care transformation, designed to achieve the triple aim of controlling health care costs while improving quality of care and the patient experience. In oncology, several OMH models have been piloted, including the COME HOME demonstration project and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center (CMMI) Oncology Care Model. In addition, ASCO’s Patient-Centered Oncology Payment (PCOP) model incorporates concepts consistent with the OMH.1-5

The ASCO-COA OMH standards were developed based on a systematic review of evidence, including comparative peer-reviewed studies, studies of clinical pathways, and a systematic review of survivorship care plans, along with consensus of a multidisciplinary Expert Panel, comprising clinicians, health system administrators, and patient advocates. Prior to publication, the standards were approved by COA’s Payment Reform Committee and the ASCO Board of Directors.

Practices interested in implementing OMH standards can contact: patientcenteredcare@asco.org.

For more information about the OMH standards:

About the American Society of Clinical Oncology   

Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (the Society) is committed to the principle that knowledge conquers cancer. Together with the Association for Clinical Oncology, ASCO® represents nearly 45,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer. Through research, education, and promotion of high quality, equitable patient care, ASCO works to conquer cancer and create a world where cancer is prevented or cured, and every survivor is healthy. Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, supports the Society by funding groundbreaking research and education across cancer’s full continuum. Learn more at www.ASCO.org, explore patient education resources at www.Cancer.Net, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.   

About the Community Oncology Alliance

The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for community oncology practices and, most importantly, the patients they serve. COA is the only organization dedicated solely to community oncology where the majority of Americans with cancer are treated. The mission of COA is to ensure that patients with cancer receive quality, affordable, and accessible cancer care in their own communities. More than 1.5 million people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer each year and deaths from the disease have been steadily declining due to earlier detection, diagnosis, and treatment. Learn more about COA at communityoncology.org.

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