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Deliver Optimal Care - National Cancer Plan

Goal: The health care system delivers to all people evidence-based, patient-centered care that prioritizes prevention, reduces cancer morbidity and mortality, and improves the lives of cancer survivors, including people living with cancer.

Ongoing improvements across our health care system are required to ensure that high-quality cancer care is available and affordable for all who need it. While health care delivery research can reveal what to do to improve routine cancer care, it is up to the government, industry, communities, and individuals to use research knowledge to produce the changes necessary to end cancer as we know it.

A purple, circular icon with a photo of a health care professional in a lab coat talking to an elderly woman with white hair, glasses, and a sweater. Above them are the words Deliver Optimal Care.

The state of delivering optimal care today

Important advances in early cancer detection, treatment, and survivorship care may be hindered by issues related to delivering high-quality cancer care. Issues include the increasing cost and complexity of treatment, disparities caused by barriers that prevent people from getting timely, culturally appropriate care, and financial toxicity.

Given these issues, research to improve cancer care delivery is extremely important. However, it is also challenging for several reasons:

  • Improvement requires cooperation among clinicians and health systems that currently lack the time and resources to conduct research.
  • Data collections needed for research are hard to access and are spread across electronic medical records, insurance claims, cancer registries, pharmacy databases, and other places throughout the health care system.
  • Working with many different parts of the health care system to gather, format, and analyze these data is difficult, time consuming, and can be met with resistance.

Strategies to advance cancer care delivery

  • Advance how cancer care is delivered, including through research identifying and addressing inequities to improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.
  • Increase collaboration between NCI and other government and private groups to capitalize on data, resources, and expertise that help enable cancer care delivery research.
  • Work across government agencies and with private companies to promote widespread use of research-proven ways to lower cancer death rates and improve survivor well-being.
  • Identify and put into effect best practices for public engagement, communication, and health literacy related to cancer risk, prevention, treatment, and survivorship that are tailored to community needs.

Examples of NCI-supported research to achieve this goal

Examples of activities across the government to achieve this goal

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs National Precision Oncology Program, created in response to the Cancer Moonshot, helps clinicians more accurately predict which cancer treatment strategies will work best for each veteran.
  • The Enhancing Oncology Model, designed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center, tests ways to improve patient-centered care and strategies to deliver cancer care that will generate the best possible patient outcomes.
  • The Applied Proteogenomics OrganizationaL Learning and Outcomes (APOLLO) network is a collaboration between the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and NCI to incorporate proteogenomics into patient care as a way of looking beyond the genome to better predict how patients will respond to therapy.
  • Primary care practitioners are significant contributors toward early cancer diagnosis and overall cancer care. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) EvidenceNow Model is a blueprint for delivering external support to primary care practices to improve health care quality and implement new evidence into care delivery. AHRQ also produces a webinar series featuring studies that strengthen the research and delivery of primary care.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has advanced Project Facilitate, a single point-of-contact call center to help oncology health care providers submit expanded access requests, which is a potential pathway for patients to receive investigational drugs outside of a clinical trial.

Learn more about this goal
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