Publication Abstract

Authors: Lowry SJ, Loggers ET, Bowles EJ, Wagner EH

Title: Evidence gaps in advanced cancer care: community-based clinicians' perspectives and priorities for CER.

Journal: Am J Manag Care 18(5 Spec No. 2):SP77-83

Date: 2012 May

Abstract: OBJECTIVES: Although much effort has focused on identifying national comparative effectiveness research (CER) priorities, little is known about the CER priorities of community-based practitioners treating patients with advanced cancer. CER priorities of managed care-based clinicians may be valuable as reflections of both payer and provider research interests. METHODS: We conducted mixed methods interviews with 10 clinicians (5 oncologists and 5 pharmacists) at 5 health plans within the Health Maintenance Organization Cancer Research Network. We asked, "What evidence do you most wish you had when treating patients with advanced cancer" and questioned participants on their impressions and knowledge of CER and pragmatic clinical trials (PCTs). We conducted qualitative analyses to identify themes across interviews. RESULTS: Ninety percent of participants had heard of CER, 20% had heard of PCTs, and all rated CER/PCTs as highly relevant to patient and health plan decision making. Each participant offered between 3 and 10 research priorities. Half (49%) involved head-to-head treatment comparisons; another 20% involved comparing different schedules or dosing regimens of the same treatment. The majority included alternative outcomes to survival (eg, toxicity, quality of life, noninferiority). Participants cited several limitations to existing evidence, including lack of generalizability, funding biases, and rapid development of new treatments. CONCLUSION: Head-to-head treatment comparisons remain a major evidence need among community- based oncology clinicians, and CER/PCTs are highly valued methods to address the limitations of traditional randomized trials, answer questions of cost-effectiveness or noninferiority, and inform data-driven dialogue and decision making by all stakeholders.