Molecular Testing in the Community Setting
The evolution of biomarker–driven medicine is having an impact on oncology patient care—both diagnostically and therapeutically. To ensure that cancer programs are optimizing biomarker testing processes, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), in collaboration with Pfizer Oncology, launched a multi–phased initiative in 2012 titled, "Molecular Testing in the Community Oncology Setting." Phase I consisted of member surveys and a published report that summarized key findings from the survey and outlined effective strategies to overcome common barriers. Phase II selected eight ACCC member programs to participate in Learning Labs for Process Improvement focused on improving biomarker testing at the system level.
In 2015, in an effort to open dialogue around innovative changes in biomarker testing programs, ACCC brought together a group of clinicians and administrators to discuss the approaches to biomarker testing at their programs. Drawing on this discussion, ACCC has developed "Ongoing Advances & Improvements in Molecular Testing," a supplement that will be published with the July/August Oncology Issues. During July 2015, these biomarker testing "stakeholders" will participate in a series of webinars to discuss their biomarker testing programs and answer your questions.
To further explore the barriers and potential solutions identified during the first two phases of our biomarker testing project, ACCC launched an initiative to encourage peer-to-peer dialogue and learning. As part of the effort, in early 2015 ACCC hosted a biomarker testing “stakeholder” meeting. This meeting brought together an interdisciplinary panel comprised of seven clinicians and administrators from cancer programs of various sizes from around the country. This group talked about ongoing advances and improvements in biomarker testing processes, as well as specific innovations underway at their programs.
Drawing on this discussion, ACCC has developed “Ongoing Advances & Improvements in Molecular Testing,” a supplement that will coming in your July/August Oncology Issues. To keep the conversation going, panelists from the stakeholder meeting will be discussing their programs and available for live Q&A during a webinar series in July. The topics they will discuss are:
- The Tissue Issue—Sampling and Testing
- The Deal with Data—Collecting and Sharing
- The Future of Molecular Testing—Optimizing Efficiency Under Increasing Expectations
Register for one of these upcoming free webinars to find out about advances happening in biomarker testing, take away ideas for process improvement for your program and get your questions answered live. Click here to view full schedule and register.
In 2013, ACCC proceeded with Phase II, Learning Labs for Process Improvement, a program for member institutions that focused on improving molecular testing at the system level through experiential learning labs. Eight member centers were elected to participate in this project:
- Anne Arundel Medical Center, DeCesaris Cancer Institute, Annapolis, Md.
- IU Health Goshen Center for Cancer Care, Goshen, Ind.
- Riverside Health System, Riverside Cancer Care Center, Newport News, Va.
- Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Shawnee Mission, Kans.
- Southside Regional Medical Center, Petersburg, Va.
- St. Vincent’s HealthCare, Jacksonville, Fla.
- The Methodist Hospitals, Oncology Services, Merrillville, Ind.
- The Thomas Johns Cancer Hospital, Richmond, Va.
Each center identified an administrator and a physician champion who helped gather baseline data, schedule the learning lab workshop, and hold follow–up meetings with the staff to monitor progress as they proceeded in the process–improvement journey.
View a recorded panel discussion, “Focus on Lung Cancer: From Screening to Diagnosis and Treatment,” that occurred at the ACCC National Oncology Conference, in San Diego, October 2014. Panelists cover learnings from two separate projects: 1) ACCC’s Learning Labs for Process Improvement project, as well as 2) The Biomarker Testing Service Redesign Project at St. Joseph Hospital, Orange County. Funding and support for both projects was provided by Pfizer, Inc.
Panel Moderator (on L): Joseph Kim, MD, MPH, MCM Education
Panelists (L to R): Wendy Holt, RN, MSN, OCN, St. Vincent's HealthCare; Cary Presant, MD, FACP, FASCO, City of Hope; Lawrence Wagman, MD, FACS, FPCS (Hon), St. Joseph Hospital of Orange
Phase 1 of ACCC's Molecular Testing in the Community Setting project took a three-pronged approach to inform challenges and effective practices in the use of molecular testing, including: development of an annotated bibliography, two informal online surveys (multidisciplinary team member survey and pathologist survey), and focus group and follow-up interviews. Learn more about the project and access a summary of the outcomes here.