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Heather Gartman

Recent Posts by Heather Gartman

October 5, 2016

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Categories: Advocacy, Patient Communications

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Validating the Role of PROs in Cancer Care

With substantial funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), an important new study is underway exploring whether systematic collection of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) during cancer treatment results in better care. The size of the grant – $5.43 million over five years – and the ambitious scope of the project is one of the latest examples of how the oncology community is challenging itself to become more patient-centric in its approach to both clinical care and new drug development. The national trial will investigate whether integrating patient-reported symptoms into care management can improve the patient’s quality of care and quality of life. The study will also measure the impact of patient self-reporting on the healthcare delivery system, particularly in terms of emergency room and hospital visits. In fact, demonstrating that improving PROs can also save costs may be what it takes to convince one of the groups that remain most skeptical about the role and value of PROs in drug development and clinical care: payers. As we found in a survey we conducted of 15 US-based payer representatives, PRO measures were considered only “slightly to somewhat influential” in their decision-making on oncology products. There was a clear split between thoseContinue Reading

Encouraging Participation in Clinical Trials a Must

It was hard for me to contain my excitement when I flipped through this week’s issue of Parade Magazine. For those of you who may have missed it, this week the periodical ran a feature that shared the story of a woman whose life was saved by participating in a clinical trial. The piece included an educational sidebar that spoke to the many myths and facts surrounding clinical trials. As someone who is involved in the world of clinical trials, I couldn’t help but see a high-profile story like this as a major win for the clinical trial community. Many people don’t realize that most trials never enroll enough patients to close. Articles such as this one are a key component to educating patients and caregivers about the benefits of trials and encouraging their participation. In oncology, they say as many as 80% of patients do not know about trials. This is an alarming statistic considering that once patients fail first or second line treatment, their only option is a clinical trial, something many physicians are well aware of. I applaud Parade Magazine, not only for helping raise awareness of clinical trials but also for explaining that the goal ofContinue Reading

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