AACI Presidential Initiative

I would like to alert our membership of the two-year initiative I set out for the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) at the national meeting last week.

As President of AACI for the next two years, I asked all the cancer centers to participate in a review of practices and approaches to improving the quality of cancer care administered across their individual networks. Click here to view the initiative overview.  

I have been thinking about this project for a year, observing the challenges that both Seidman Cancer Center and Taussig Cancer Institute have in managing patient care across the entire Northeast Ohio region, covering some 4.3M people and 16,000 (out of a total of 23,000) new cancer cases diagnosed annually. 

In fact, when Vice President Biden announced the Moonshot and indicated NCI-designated cancer centers only saw about 15% of all cancer cases -- while we actually see close to 60% -- I realized there was a flaw in the calculation because we only report to the NCI those analytic cases seen at our main campuses (as do all centers) and we leave our networks out.  When I mentioned at AACI I thought the proportion was closer to 40% of all cases in the US, this prompted the NCI to request that all cancer centers begin to provide data of their entire network management. That is a big win for the initiative.

So, what is next: 

  1. Please see the link to the AACI Cancer Center Network Care Initiative White Paper. We submitted this to the Moonshot office in July after the national summit to indicate the nation's cancer centers readiness to tackle high quality care practices across networks to improve the availability of high quality care, carepaths, innovation, proper referrals, and clinical trials to a larger population of patients. This was signed by all cancer center directors at the national summit.
  2. Note key elements of the initiatives for AACI to include:
    • Quality of care
    • Multidisciplinary care across the network
    • Access to local and national clinical trials, genomics tumor boards, and center tumor boards
    • Uniformity of care through implementation of carepaths
    • Integration of patient databases for aggregation of data for research and quality
    • Improved screening and prevention strategies across the network
    • Population education in cancer prevention, screening, treatment
    • Linkages to safety net hospitals
    • Strengthening the virtual continuum of care so patients can get expert opinions as well as care closer to home.
  3. We will start with the Physician Leadership Group to refine a questionnaire about the current status of networks including topics of care coordination, employment models, availability of clinical trials and genomics, a research pharmacy, use of carepaths, data sharing, end of life care, high risk assessments, and use of commercial products to facilitate program interactions across sites.
  4. We will assemble and review results, aiming to both publish the survey and identify best practices that will improve patient access and quality of care, while improving the efficiencies and consistency of care.

My goals are to assist centers across the country in developing high quality network-based cancer care that provides access to clinical trials and advanced diagnostics and interpretation, while reinforcing the value of the nation's best cancer centers.