FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla--The member institutions of the National Comprehensive
Cancer Network (NCCN) must adapt to the changing health care system and
"help to shape that change in a positive manner for all in cancer
care," William T. McGivney, PhD, said in his State of the NCCN address
at the network's second annual conference. Dr. McGivney was recently named
chief executive officer of the alliance.
The new CEO plans for the NCCN to take a more "visible, active,
and influential role" in seven areas (outlined below). "I can
assure you," he said, "that we will tackle this ambitious agenda
vigorously, enthusiastically, and with a sense of urgency that it has to
1. Clinical policy development. In the United States for the
last five to seven years, there has been a shift in responsibility for
the development of clinical policy away from the practicing medical community,
Dr. McGivney said.
"As leaders in oncology, we must assume responsibility for the
development of clinical guidelines and policy, but clearly we must do it
in a way that is evidence based," he noted. The NCCN is significantly
committed to this endeavor, and in only two years has developed guidelines
that cover 80% of cancers.
2. Outcomes data. In order to pursue an evidence-based guidelines
approach, Dr. McGivney said, "we must continue to enhance our ability
to collect, synthesize, and analyze data that evaluate our treatment of
cancer patients in our member institutions."
This effort, he said, must focus on two areas: the ability of NCCN member
institutions to conform their practices to the guidelines and to evaluate
clinical outcomes, both intermediate and final, in a meaningful manner.
3. Business partnerships and relationships. Dr. McGivney, formerly
with Aetna Health Plans, is responsible for exploring potential links between
the NCCN and national insurers and employers who have an interest in ensuring
quality cancer care on a national basis.
Clearly, he said, all constituencies of the health care community have
different mechanisms for improving the delivery of health care. "We
must all work together--managed care companies, employers, NCCN institutions,
and all constituencies represented at the conference--to integrate these
programs, so as to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and appropriateness
of care delivered."
4. Clinical research. Similarly, he said, the NCCN and other
health care constituencies must come together "to explore the different
mechanisms available to assure the viability of the clinical research efforts
of the NCCN institutions and of our nation's clinical research enterprise
5. Public policy. The NCCN will have a clear and cogent presence
in public policy debates on important patient care and clinical research
efforts, he said. To accomplish this, the organization will bring together
the views and expertise of the various member institutions.
6. Working with the general oncology community. Dr. McGivney
stressed that the NCCN members must continue to fulfill their responsibility
as major academic centers, "to translate the fruits of biomedical
and clinical research into standard care."
7. Working with patient advocates. Perhaps most important, he
said, "the NCCN must endeavor to hear patients' comments and suggestions,
to understand their needs, and to work with those patients and their organized
communities in the public policy arena, in patient education, and in assuring
access to clinical trials where appropriate."