Blog Post

The latest trends on clinical pathways in oncology

January 26, 2017

    In an effort to standardize care and demonstrate adherence to evidence-based guidelines, many cancer programs are considering investing in clinical pathways. To understand how many providers are using pathways, and which pathways are the most common, we asked about them in our recent medical oncology and radiation therapy In an effort to standardize care and demonstrate adherence to evidence-based guidelines, many cancer programs are considering investing in clinical pathways. To understand how many providers are using pathways, and which pathways are the most common, we asked about them in our recent medical oncology and radiation therapy benchmarking surveys. Keep reading to learn what we found.

    One-quarter of medical oncology clinics use clinical pathways

    We asked nearly 100 medical oncology clinics how they ensure that their providers deliver evidence-based care. Not surprisingly, most medical oncology clinics use clinical pathways and/or NCCN guidelines, as shown in the graph below. Although respondents were able to select more than one type of pathway, only two facilities reported using two different types of pathways.

    Almost one-fifth of respondents reported using a commercial pathway platform. Of the platforms available, Value Pathways powered by NCCN was the most commonly used with 14% of clinics choosing this vendor. Only 6% of respondents reported using homegrown pathways, while 4% indicated that they use Via Oncology.

    Clinical Pathways Used by Medical Oncologists
    Percentage of Medical Oncology Clinics

    clinical pathways used by medical oncologists

    Via Oncology most common clinical pathway for radiation oncology

    We also surveyed more than 170 radiation therapy facilities about their use of clinical pathways. Similar to medical oncology clinics, the vast majority of respondents indicated that their radiation oncologists don't use pathways but do adhere to NCCN guidelines.

    20% of radiation therapy facilities reported using a commercial clinical pathway (i.e., Via Oncology, Value Pathways powered by NCCN). Unlike medical oncology, Via Oncology was the most popular platform used by radiation oncologists with 14% of respondents indicating that they use this product. Only 4% of respondents reported using homegrown pathways.

    Clinical Pathways Used by Radiation Oncologists
    Percentage of Radiation Therapy Facilities

    clinical pathways used by radiation therapy facilities

     

    Drill down into clinical pathways utilization data

    Utilization of clinical pathways varies by medical oncology clinic and radiation therapy facility characteristics. For example, there is a linear relationship between organization size and investment in commercial clinical pathway platforms for radiation oncology. More than half (57%) of organizations in the top quartile of analytic cases use commercial pathways compared to 16% in the third quartile and 5% in the second quartile. No organizations in the lowest quartile reported using commercial pathways. This is likely due to larger organizations having more resources available to purchase a commercial platform and a greater need to standardize care across multiple providers.

    Organization size is just one of many characteristics you can use to cut the clinical pathway data. You can use our Medical Oncology Clinic Benchmark Generator and Radiation Therapy Benchmark Generator to look at utilization of clinical pathways within specific types of institutions (e.g., academic medical centers, small cancer programs) that most resemble your organization.

    Your primer on clinical pathways for cancer care

    Get an introduction to clinical guidelines and clinical pathways, an overview of the main clinical pathways vendors, and a look at how pathways may fit into future quality and cost strategy.

    Read now

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