The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently convened an Ad Hoc Palliative Care Expert Panel to update a 2012 provisional clinical opinion by conducting a systematic review of clinical trials in palliative care in oncology. The key takeaways from the updated ASCO clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) are that more people should be referred to interdisciplinary palliative care teams and that more palliative care specialists and palliative care-Trained oncologists are needed to meet this demand. The following summary statement is based on multiple randomized clinical trials: "Inpatients and outpatients with advanced cancer should receive dedicated palliative care services, early in the disease course, concurrent with active treatment. Referral of patients to interdisciplinary palliative care teams is optimal, and services may complement existing programs" (J Clin Oncol. 2017;35(1):96). This paper addresses potential epidemiologic and policy interpretations and implications of the ASCO CPGs. Our review of the CPGs demonstrates that to have clinicians implement these guidelines, there is a need for support from stakeholders across the health-care continuum, health system and institutional change, and changes in health-care financing. Because of rising costs and the need to improve value, the need for coordinated care, and change in end-of-life care patterns,many of these changes are already underway.
- End of life care
- Interdisciplinary health team
- Oncology services
- Palliative care
ASJC Scopus subject areas