Molecular Testing in the Community Setting
The evolution of biomarker-driven medicine to diagnose and treat cancer continues to play a central role in the delivery of precision medicine for patients with cancer. Bio-marker testing provides specific information about a patient’s tumor that can be used in diagnosis, development of a treatment plan, and in following the patient’s progress.
In 2013-2015, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) initiated Learning Labs for Process Improvement focused on improving molecular testing at the system level. Eight ACCC Cancer Program member institutions participated in these facilitated learning labs, identifying eight key areas for improvement and developed potential action items for each.
As a next step, in 2016 ACCC is launching A.C.T. (Assess, Change, Test) on Molecular Testing, to make the Learning Lab for Process Improvement experience available to community cancer programs seeking to improve their molecular testing processes. A.C.T. on Molecular Testing will empower cancer programs with learning labs materials to help members integrate and optimize biomarker testing the community setting.
A.C.T. on Molecular Testing
A continuing challenge for community providers in implementing and optimizing biomarker testing is the need to work across specialties and to secure organizational support and commitment. In response, the A.C.T. on Molecular Testing initiative is developing tools and resources to enhance provider communication and foster cross-disciplinary approaches for identifying effective practices for integration of bio-marker testing in the community setting.
As an initial step to facilitate communication on molecular testing across disciplines, ACCC has created a lexicon of molecular-testing related terminology.
In 2013-2015, ACCC conducted eight Learning Labs for Process Improvement at ACCC Cancer Program member institutions. Programs gathered baseline data, participated in an on-site learning lab workshop, and conducted follow-up with staff to monitor process improvement efforts. Participants identified eight key areas for improvement and developed potential action items for each.
To foster dialogue around innovative changes in biomarker testing programs, in 2015 ACCC held a biomarker testing “stakeholder” meeting, bringing together an interdisciplinary panel of seven clinicians and administrators from cancer programs of various sizes from around the country. The group discussed ongoing advances and improvements in biomarker testing processes, as well as specific innovations underway at their programs. From this discussion, ACCC developed “Ongoing Advances & Improvements in Molecular Testing” and a webinar series. Topics covered in these peer-to-peer webinar series include:
- The Tissue Issue: Sampling and Testing
- The Deal with Data: Collecting and Sharing
- The Future of Molecular Testing: Optimizing Efficiency Under Increasing Expectations
Molecular Testing in the Community Oncology Setting
The ACCC 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.