NEW YORK--As reported last month in ONI , 13 of the leading cancer
centers in the United States have formed a national alliance--
the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)--to develop and
institute standards of care for the treatment of cancer and to
perform outcomes research.
The network is also a joint business venture that is developing
programs to provide cancer prevention and care for large employers
and third-party payers, Joseph Simone, MD, medical director of
the NCCN, said at a press conference.
According to Dr. Simone, physician-in-chief, Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Cancer Center, such standards, while constantly changing as new
knowledge accrues, may come to be viewed as the "gold standard"
of cancer treatments.
All 13 NCCN participants are in the process of developing partnerships
with community hospitals and oncologists in their respective geographical
regions. (See story about the community network developed at the
City of Hope National Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif.)
Because of the geographical distribution of the network's cancer
centers, patients will not have to travel as far to receive appropriate
care, said Dr. Charles Balch, executive vice president for health
affairs, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
He pointed out that such flexibility is possible because the member
institutions have pledged to maintain common standards of care,
common outcomes reporting, and standard pricing structures.