Addressing Cancer Health Disparities

Panelists:Michael Kolodziej, MD, Aetna; Andrew L. Pecora, MD, FACP, CPE, John Theurer Cancer Center; Jeffery C. Ward, MD, Swedish Cancer Institute

Disparities in cancer care are predominantly due to access issues, states Jeffery C. Ward, MD. Removing barriers to access, such as socioeconomic, language, and cultural barriers, will help to eliminate disparities.
An important component of addressing the high cost of care in the United States is focusing more on population health, says Michael Kolodziej, MD. It is important for individuals to be screened for cancer and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Improving population health is the primary intent behind quality metrics, adds Kolodziej.
As the demand for oncologists increases, so does the need for payment reform, notes Ward. It is also essential to address the way care is delivered, states Kolodziej. Team-based care, such as within a patient-centered medical home, allows healthcare professionals to operate at the top of their licenses. Working as part of a team diffuses some of the individual responsibilities, adds Kolodziej, and enriches the career paths of its members.
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