ASCO and COA Release 7 Critical Factors of Patient-Centered Oncology Care


The new Oncology Medical Home standards represent a universal benchmark in a value-based model of oncology care.

New Oncology Medical Home (OMH) guidelines will standardize issues in high-quality oncology care. Appropriate use, and safe and efficient delivery of oncology drugs, as well as patient- centered care coordination, effective communication, informed decision making, and planning are outlined in the guideline, which was jointly released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Community Oncology Alliance (COA).

The standards were based off a systematic review of evidence, which included comparative peer-reviewed studies, clinical pathway analysis, a systematic review of survivorship care plans, and a consensus of a multidisciplinary expert panel, which encompassed clinicians, health system administrators, and patient advocates. Both COA’s Payment Reform Committee and the ASCO Board of Directors approved the publication prior to release.

“Every single patient has the right to high-quality, evidence-based, and cost-effective cancer care. However, our challenge as clinicians and as a broader oncology community has been to define what that high-quality cancer care looks like,” said ASCO President Everett E. Vokes, MD, FASCO, in a news release. “These new, comprehensive standards will remove ambiguity and serve as a strong foundation for all stakeholders to work together to ensure that every single person receives the care they deserve, throughout the entire patient journey.”

ASCO and COA highlighted 7 specific, different aspects of cancer care in the guidelines – which were published in JCO Oncology Practice:

  • Patient engagement in and empowerment to share in decision-making about their cancer care. This includes individualized treatment plans, survivorship plans, and access to financial navigation.
  • Patient access to cancer care at the right time, in the right setting. Providers should use a symptom triage system and offer expanded access to timely office care to minimize emergency room visits.
  • Evidence and value-based treatment. Providers should adhere and document their adherence to comprehensive clinical pathways that reflect the latest clinical research, and should recommend and refer patients to clinical trials (as appropriate)
  • Patient access to equitable, comprehensive, and coordinated, team-based care. Oncology care teams should closely coordinate each patient’s care, and include patient navigation, psychosocial care, and support services as part of the care team. Practices must have policies in place to address health equity, including awareness of conscious/unconscious bias.
  • Continuous practice quality improvement using data, including patient surveys and patient-reported outcomes, to evaluate and improve processes and outcomes.
  • Patient access to advance care planning discussions, palliative, and end-of-lifecare. Practices should also hold a ‘goals of care’ discussion with all patients.
  • Practice adherence to the highest-level chemotherapy safety standards (as per QOPI® Certification Program (QCP) Standards)

ASCO and COA expressed hope that these guidelines represent a new universal benchmark to ensure that the entire oncology community works from the same value-based model of care which will benefit all patients with cancer.

“These new OMH standards provide oncology practices with a single set of cancer care delivery expectations that benefit patients, practices, and other stakeholders,” added COA president Kashyap Patel, MD, in the news release. “As practices transition into value-based care delivery, those that adopt this framework will be able to focus on a standardized process that measurably demonstrates high-quality, patient-centered, and efficient care.”


New ASCO-COA oncology medical home standards set high bar, offers roadmap for comprehensive high-quality, patient centered cancer care delivery. ASCO. News release. July 13, 2021. Accessed August 2, 2021.

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