New data on the state of value-based care in oncology has found that while community oncologists are optimistic about the beneficial potential of value-based care, they see a conflict between the need to decrease episode costs and the rising prices of the most innovative novel therapies.
In an effort to dig deeper into current attitudes toward new value-based reimbursement models and novel therapies in cancer care, Integra Connect surveyed leaders and decision-makers in oncology practices. Respondents represented practices with approximately 530 community oncologists, all of whom are participating in value-based care programs.
The survey results yield useful insights into how oncologists are dealing with rising drug costs in the era of value-based care, which makes practices financially accountable for improving the quality of patient care while also lowering the overall costs of cancer episodes. As drug prices continue to increase to new levels, driven in part by groundbreaking therapies, respondents indicated that it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep costs below value-based care program targets.
Other key themes surfaced by the survey include: expectations for the future of value-based cancer care; how drug costs are affecting treatment behaviors; what oncologists need from pharmaceutical manufacturers; the influence and effect of care pathways; and the value of and vision for precision medicine.
The number one challenge for making value-based care work: Rising drug costs
When asked about the number one challenge for making value-based care succeed in oncology, the majority of respondents (57 percent) cited managing the rising cost of drugs, including promising but expensive novel therapies. Beyond the context of value-based care, 93 percent of oncologists describe increasing drug costs as a priority issue impacting the overall well-being of their practices.
Value-based care is driving changes in cancer treatment choices
With oncologists increasingly accountable for the cost of entire episodes of care, a full 87 percent of survey respondents said that value-based care is causing them to think differently about drug choices, compared to their approaches during the fee-for-service era. When it comes to the choice of drug for an individual patient’s treatment regimen, oncologists assert that they remain as committed as ever to delivering the best clinical outcomes, regardless of impact on episode cost.
Nonetheless, more than three-quarters of oncologists indicated that they are making changes to how they and their practices choose treatment regimens under value-based care programs. A sizeable group (38 percent) says that it may change drug choices and opt for lower-cost therapies, but only when efficacy and toxicity remain the same. An equal percentage of oncologists voiced a desire to develop a deeper understanding of drug value, not just cost, that helps them understand the patient impact of therapies on an individualized level.