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Oncologists' Views on Using Value to Guide Cancer Treatment Decisions.

Gidwani-Marszowski R, Nevedal AL, Blayney DW, Patel M, Kelly PA, Timko C, Ramchandran K, Murrell SS, Asch SM. Oncologists' Views on Using Value to Guide Cancer Treatment Decisions. Value in health : the journal of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research. 2018 Aug 1; 21(8):931-937.

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OBJECTIVES: Cancer costs have increased substantially in the past decades, prompting specialty societies to urge oncologists to consider value in clinical decision making. Despite oncologists' crucial role in guiding cancer care, current literature is sparse with respect to the oncologists' views on value. Here, we evaluated oncologists perceptions of the use and measurement of value in cancer care. METHODS: We conducted in-depth, open-ended interviews with 31 US oncologists practicing nationwide in various environments. Oncologists discussed the definition, measurement, and implementation of value. Transcripts were analyzed using matrix and thematic analysis. RESULTS: Oncologists' definitions of value varied greatly. Some described versions of the standard health economic definition of value, that is, cost relative to health outcomes. Many others did not include cost in their definition of value. Oncologists considered patient goals and quality of life as important components of value that they perceived were missing from current value measurement. Oncologists prioritized a patient-centric view of value over societal or other perspectives. Oncologists were inclined to consider the value of a treatment only if they perceived treatment would pose a financial burden to patients. Oncologists had differing opinions regarding who should be responsible for determining whether care is low value but generally felt this should remain within the purview of the oncology community. CONCLUSIONS: Oncologists agreed that cost was an important issue, but disagreed about whether cost was involved in value as well as the role of value in guiding treatment. Better clarity and alignment on the definition of and appropriate way to measure value is critical to the success of efforts to improve value in cancer care.

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