HealthDay News — Attributes that distinguish high-value oncology practices have been identified, according to a study published online in JAMA Oncology.

Douglas W. Blayney, MD, from Stanford Cancer Institute in California, and colleagues identified oncology practices with low mean insurer-allowed spending to quantify value. Practices with high quality were selected, and a team conducted site visits to interview practice personnel and probe for attributes of high-value care. Attributes occurring uniquely or frequently in low-spending practices were reviewed for their contribution to value improvement and ease of implementation.

The researchers identified 13 attributes within 5 themes from the 7 practices studied. The themes were: treatment planning and goal setting, services supporting the patient journey, technical support and physical layout, organization and function of the care team, and external context. High-value practice sites were most sharply distinguished by 5 attributes: conservative use of imaging, early discussion of limitations and consequences of treatment, single point of contact, maximal use of registered nurses for interventions, and a multicomponent health care system. Three attributes — early and normalized palliative care, ambulatory rapid response, and early discussion of limitations and consequences of treatment — were judged to have the highest immediate potential for reducing spending without compromising care quality.

“Oncology practice attributes warranting further testing were identified that may lower total spending for high-quality oncology care,” the authors write.

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One author disclosed ties to Guardant Health Inc.

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Blayney DW, Simon MK, Podtschaske B, et al. Critical lessons from high-value oncology practices [published online November 16, 2017]. JAMA Oncol. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2017.3803