Moving the Clinical Pathways Conversation Forward

September brings about many things: the end of summer, the beginning of a new school term, and a march toward the conclusion of another calendar year. For those of us at Journal of Clinical Pathways, September marks our Clinical Pathways Congress, held the weekend of September 8 in Washington, DC. Although the Congress may be our primary focus, it is certainly not the only iron we have in the fire. In the midst of our planning and preparation, we have turned out a new issue filled with interesting content.

Last month, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) published a fascinating report called Navigating the Coverage Experience and Financial Challenges for Cancer Patients. The report addresses common misconceptions and knowledge gaps about insurance coverage among patients with cancer, as well as the growing role of embedded financial navigators in hospital systems. Our editors spoke with Jennifer Singleterry, MA, senior policy analyst with ACS CAN, about the timeliness and necessity of this information (page 21).

In recent years, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) has emerged as a leading hospital system employing clinical pathways. Our issue reflects their rise within the clinical pathways world. This issue features an interview with Editorial Advisory Board member David Hughes, who is SCCA’s director of clinical pathways (page 19), as well as a Perspectives piece from clinical pathways associate Sanu Jain, BS, MHA, which highlights the development of SCCA’s Clinical Pathways Office (page 47). Both stories should be illuminating to anyone interested in the development and implementation of pathways.

Lung cancer is an area that greatly benefits from multidisciplinary care management, as its treatment is contingent upon specialists from many fields working together. However, there has been a paucity of published data on how multidisciplinary management has standardized and improved care for these patients. Journal of Clinical Pathways is proud to publish a retrospective study conducted at Yale University that shows several improvements following the implementation of multidisciplinary tumor board, including increased clinical staging, greater utilization of mediastinoscopy and bronchoscopy, increased use of minimally invasive surgical methods, and decreased length of hospital stay (page 40).

This issue is capped off by a very special feature: a special report on how clinical pathways can be used to address the serious issues of treatment resistance and relapse for patients with multiple myeloma (page 49). Anyone who has treated patients with this disease knows that progression to second- and third-line treatments are often the rule, not the exception. This in-depth overview shows how to best handle transitioning patients through different treatment options as appropriate.

Summer may be over, but here at Journal of Clinical Pathways, we are just getting started!