McGivney Outlines 'Ambitious Agenda' For NCCN in 7 Areas

April 1, 1997

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.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla--The member institutions of the National ComprehensiveCancer Network (NCCN) must adapt to the changing health care system and"help to shape that change in a positive manner for all in cancercare," William T. McGivney, PhD, said in his State of the NCCN addressat the network's second annual conference. Dr. McGivney was recently namedchief 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 canassure you," he said, "that we will tackle this ambitious agendavigorously, enthusiastically, and with a sense of urgency that it has tohappen today."

1. Clinical policy development. In the United States for thelast five to seven years, there has been a shift in responsibility forthe development of clinical policy away from the practicing medical community,Dr. McGivney said.

"As leaders in oncology, we must assume responsibility for thedevelopment of clinical guidelines and policy, but clearly we must do itin a way that is evidence based," he noted. The NCCN is significantlycommitted to this endeavor, and in only two years has developed guidelinesthat cover 80% of cancers.

2. Outcomes data. In order to pursue an evidence-based guidelinesapproach, Dr. McGivney said, "we must continue to enhance our abilityto collect, synthesize, and analyze data that evaluate our treatment ofcancer patients in our member institutions."

This effort, he said, must focus on two areas: the ability of NCCN memberinstitutions to conform their practices to the guidelines and to evaluateclinical outcomes, both intermediate and final, in a meaningful manner.

3. Business partnerships and relationships. Dr. McGivney, formerlywith Aetna Health Plans, is responsible for exploring potential links betweenthe NCCN and national insurers and employers who have an interest in ensuringquality cancer care on a national basis.

Clearly, he said, all constituencies of the health care community havedifferent mechanisms for improving the delivery of health care. "Wemust all work together--managed care companies, employers, NCCN institutions,and all constituencies represented at the conference--to integrate theseprograms, so as to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and appropriatenessof care delivered."

4. Clinical research. Similarly, he said, the NCCN and otherhealth care constituencies must come together "to explore the differentmechanisms available to assure the viability of the clinical research effortsof the NCCN institutions and of our nation's clinical research enterprisein general."

5. Public policy. The NCCN will have a clear and cogent presencein public policy debates on important patient care and clinical researchefforts, he said. To accomplish this, the organization will bring togetherthe views and expertise of the various member institutions.

6. Working with the general oncology community. Dr. McGivneystressed that the NCCN members must continue to fulfill their responsibilityas major academic centers, "to translate the fruits of biomedicaland clinical research into standard care."

7. Working with patient advocates. Perhaps most important, hesaid, "the NCCN must endeavor to hear patients' comments and suggestions,to understand their needs, and to work with those patients and their organizedcommunities in the public policy arena, in patient education, and in assuringaccess to clinical trials where appropriate."