OBR Daily Commentary

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Op-Ed: The Case for Rationing Healthcare

(Los Angeles Times) Apr 18, 2011 - Americans will have to decide what we can and cannot afford.

Thomas Marsland, MD (Posted: April 20, 2011)

quotesThere is a big difference between prolonging the living and prolonging the dying. As an oncologist I have dealt with these decisions on a daily basis for 25 years. The issue should not be framed as one of rationing but more in terms of what is really appropriate care. There comes a time when the issue of quality of life supercedes the issue of "how long." There is no question we can and should do a better job in dealing with end-of-life issues and provide the best appropriate care in all instances. No question this could result in significant savings to the healthcare system in this country, but to address this as "rationing" does everyone a disservice. quotes

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Smokers Who Quit Have Less Aggressive Kidney Cancer

(Reuters) Apr 19, 2011 - Researchers have found that kidney cancer is not only more common among heavy smokers, it also appears to be more aggressive.

Robert A. Figlin, MD., FACP (Posted: April 20, 2011)

quotesRenal Cell Carcinoma is a smoking-related disease as one of its risk factors for development. The authors support the observation as seen in other smoking- related diseases (i.e., lung cancer) that patients who do not smoke, or, have stopped smoking, when compared to those who continue to smoke have a better prognosis. The relationship of smoking and the relative aggressiveness of kidney cancer will require further study but this report points out the potential importance of smoking cessation strategies for resected RCCa as is recommended for early-stage lung cancer after resection. Whether these observations apply to all RCCa pathologies or predominantly clear cell RCCa will require additional follow-up.quotes

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Florida Comprehensive Care Network (FCCN) and ITA Partners Enter into a Long-Term Strategic Relationship -- FCCN Network Physicians toAdopt eviti®

(CNBC) Apr 13, 2011 - The Florida Comprehensive Care Network (FCCN) and ITA Partners, Inc. (ITA) have signed a long-term strategic agreement under which FCCN will use eviti®, ITA's oncology decision-support platform, across its network of oncologists. ITA is an independent, third-party expert with nearly a decade of experience supporting oncology treatment decisions and patient care.

Thomas Marsland, MD (Posted: April 15, 2011)

quotesFCCN gets it. Clinical integration and coordination of care is critical to the delivery of high quality cost effective medical care. Many programs rely on the use of "pathways" to standardized care which improves quality and cost control. The true key to making these networks successful is the ability to monitor and exchange data and outcomes. It is encouraging to see high tech programs being used to do this. Many other networks rely on lesser programs and systems based only on claims data that really limit the ability of the group to monitor compliance with pathways and therefore assure persistent quality care and cost effectiveness. 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

Associate Cancer Center Director, Yale Cancer Center P...

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...