OBR Daily Commentary

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Big Pharma, Big Data: Why Drugmakers Want Your Health Records

(Reuters) Mar 1, 2018 - Drugmakers are racing to scoop up patient health records and strike deals with technology companies as big data analytics start to unlock a trove of information about how medicines perform in the real world.

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Thomas Marsland, MD (Posted: March 14, 2018)

quotesSo the key question asked in this report is "Who's data is it?" That really is the $64,000 question (gee who remembers that show??). Clearly the potential for big data is tremendous. Real world data can drive clinical decisions making. Which treatments are more effective, less toxic, less costly? Real world data can be used for hypothesis generating clinical trials. Where the waters get muddy is when is data is used by industry to promote marketing and drug usage. Also, there is a huge market for this information by the financial world to promote investing decisions. The economic worth of such information is dramatic. So when large companies such as Roche control this data, how is it limited? Who has access?? What if any economic advantage is there to the patients and physician who are responsible for generating (and owning ???) that data. Clearly there is a need for transparency in this data generation. At a minimum the practices and patients should know when their information is being used in collection or "real world evidence." quotes

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Hospital Charges For Outpatient Cancer Care Highly Variable, Medicare Billing Records Show

(Johns Hopkins Medicine) Feb 20, 2018 - An analysis of recent Medicare billing records for more than 3,000 hospitals across the United States shows that charges for outpatient oncology services such as chemo infusion or radiation treatment vary widely and exceed what Medicare will pay by twofold to sixfold.

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Thomas Marsland, MD (Posted: March 01, 2018)

quotesBilling and payments for medical services are a complex, confusing world. There are billed charges which have no bearing on reality. Providers, both hospitals and practitioners, often have charges that are astronomical. No one expects to get "billed" charges. Private payers have contracts which define what they will pay for a given service. Patients are responsible for what their policy requires in terms of co-pays and deductibles. Medicare has fixed fee schedules (price controls ??) with patients responsible for 20% of the allowable on the part B side but 20% of charges on the part A side. So this is where this report hits home. In the hospital setting the amount patients pay may very well vary by huge amounts depending on hospital Part A charges. Agree that there clearly needs to be at least more transparency in terms of patients' payment and possibly some legislation to standardized charges for a given procedure or service. All of which really has little to do the the real, true cost of providing these services. quotes

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ASCO Applauds Congress for Making MACRA Work, Committing to Cancer Research in Latest Budget Bill

(ASCO in Action) Feb 9, 2018 - “The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) commends Congress for passing a continuing resolution that includes an important correction to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System.”

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Thomas Marsland, MD (Posted: February 12, 2018)

quotesYEA!!! Occasionally Congress can get it right. Hey, even a blind squirrel can find an acorn now and then........quotes

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Meet the Editorial Board

Community Oncology
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Dean Gesme, MD

FACP FACPE FASCO President, Minnesota Oncology...

Breast Cancer
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Debu Tripathy, MD

Professor and Chair, Department of Breast Medical Oncol...

Lung Cancer
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H. Jack West, MD

Medical Director, Thoracic Oncology Program, Swedish Ca...

Gastrointestinal Cancers
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Howard S. Hochster, MD

Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Rutgers Robert Woo...

Radiation Oncology
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Howard Sandler, MD, MS, FASTRO

Ronald H. Bloom Chair in Cancer Therapeutics
Pr...

Community Oncology
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Jeff Patton, M.D.

CEO Tennessee Oncology...

Precision Medicine Section Editor
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Jennifer Levin Carter, MD, MPH

Chief Medical Officer and Founder, N-of-One...

Financial Sector
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Michael G. King Jr.

Managing Director and Senior Biotechnology Analyst...

Gastrointestinal Cancers
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Richard Goldberg, MD

Director WVU Cancer Institute Director of Cancer Signa...

Editor-In-Chief
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Robert A. Figlin, MD., FACP

Professor and Director, Division of Hematology Oncology...

Health Policy
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Ted Okon

Executive Director Community Oncology Alliance...

Community Oncology
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Thomas Marsland, MD

Vice President Integrated Community Oncology Network ...

Community Oncology
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William Harwin MD

Florida Cancer Specialists President and Managing Part...

Health Policy
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William McGivney, PhD

National Health Policy Expert...

Payer
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Winston Wong, PharmD

President, W-Squared Group...