HDRP and the ECRI Institute co-hosted the conference, Cancer Care Delivery in a Rapidly Changing Healthcare System, on November 17-18, 2015. Over the two days, we heard from some of the nation’s leaders in cancer care delivery who discussed how research evidence is used to make decisions. HDRP Acting Associate Director, Dr. Ann Geiger, closed the conference with several insightful remarks about health care delivery research that are worth highlighting. First, she commented that our understanding of the biology of cancer is rapidly evolving, and that there may be unrealistic expectations about how quickly precision medicine can deliver improved outcomes. While patients currently live with cancer for years, if not decades, there continues to be dialogue about “waging a war on cancer.” She added that it may be time to help the public move away from this perception and better understand the current reality that, for most patients, cancer remains a chronic condition. Second, she reflected that the evidence is more uncertain than we’d like to admit. For example, there is no perfectly designed study, as randomized control trials often do not generalize to all patients whereas observational studies can be fraught with potential biases. Third, Dr. Geiger observed that stakeholder groups lack shared goals and struggle with the extent to which costs should be taken into account. This complicates translation of evidence into practice.
Where do you think is the best place to start in addressing some of these challenges?