Clinical Pathways: Local, National, and International

If you are an oncologist, you are probably picking up this month’s edition of Journal of Clinical Pathways as you return from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago. Given the breadth of material presented each year at ASCO, it is impossible for even the most diligent attendee to catch every interesting education session, lecture, abstract presentation, or poster session. With that in mind, our staff attended the meeting, and we offer highlights of some of the most interesting and relevant material presented this year in our Conferences section (page 14).

As I write this, the state of health care reform in the United States is firmly in flux. The United States House of Representatives passed a version of the American Health Care Act on May 4, which sent the potential Affordable Care Act replacement to the Senate for further debate, rewriting, and consideration. The Senate has not yet voted on the bill, and it remains to be seen whether President Donald J Trump and his Republican colleagues will achieve their goal of repealing one of President Barack Obama’s signature pieces of legislature. Given the fraught nature of the health care system, research regarding avenues for sustaining affordable health care are needed now more than ever. Anita Ballaney, MBA, MCA, BSc, has addressed this topic in a wide-ranging review that examines the myriad paths stakeholders are currently taking to continue cultivating affordable and efficient health care models (page 34).

Elsewhere in the issue, Nader Tavakoli, MD, CMD, FAAFP, and colleagues address a very serious concern in geriatric health care: the persistent problem of malnutrition (page 41). As many as 66% of older adults residing in long-term care facilities experience malnutrition, and few consensus guidelines for the condition’s management currently exist. Dr Tavakoli and colleagues believe that clinical pathways can alleviate the problem of malnutrition through symptom and medication management, and could strongly improve the overall health and quality of life in this vulnerable patient population.

Between the state of cancer care in America, the continued debate over the country’s health care system, and the best treatment practices for older adults, this issue of Journal of Clinical Pathways presents a broad spectrum of important issues in the field of value-based care.